Real Madrid: Why Gareth Bale is the only winner from Zinedine Zidane’s departure

Real Madrid, Gareth Bale (Photo by David S. Bustamante/Soccrates/Getty Images)
Real Madrid, Gareth Bale (Photo by David S. Bustamante/Soccrates/Getty Images) /

Zinedine Zidane‘s exit is something that was kind of expected with all the reports about his future in the recent weeks, ever since the day before the game against Bilbao. He finally resigned on Thursday without any farewell press conference, unlike his resignation in 2018. The fans are highly disappointed with one of the greatest Real Madrid managers ever leaving the club.

Even the players looked to be disappointed, as some of them went on to post emotional farewell posts on their respective social media handles. But there might be some people who would be happy with Zidane’s departure, and one of them could be Gareth Bale.

The Welsh Dragon has been one of Real Madrid’s best players in the last decade, but he has fallen out of favour with Zidane in the recent past.

With Zidane leaving and Bale having another year left on his contract with Real Madrid, he might actually be the only winner in this case.

A brief look at the history of Gareth Bale and Zinedine Zidane’s relationship at Real Madrid

Gareth Bale was at his peak and was just 26 when Zidane became the manager in the January of 2016. He was a part of the famous BBC trio, and it was an obvious decision for Zidane to use both of them. Even Bale repaid Zidane’s faith in him, as he finished the remainder of the 2015/16 season with 10 goals and 5 assists.

But Bale couldn’t replicate the same in 2016/17 as he suffered from multiple injuries that season. He played just 1936 minutes, scoring 9 goals along with 6 assists. Zidane started using Isco in Bale’s absence, and the Spanish playmaker as well as the tweak to the formation actually worked a miracle as Real Madrid went on to win the LaLiga and Champions League. But the relationship between Zidane and Bale was broken ever since Bale was subbed off before the 40th minute in a Clasico, due to injury.

There were no clear explanations for what happened, but Bale and Zidane were never the same after that. Bale performed exceptionally well in the 2017/18 season, scoring 21 goals and assisting another 7 goals, but he couldn’t regain Zidane’s trust.

The Frenchman preferred Isco for the big games, something which didn’t go down well with the Welsh winger, which is evident from his post-match comments after the Champions League final against Liverpool in which he scored the famous bicycle kick goal. Then Zidane left the club, with reports suggesting that Zidane was unhappy with the club’s decision to keep Bale and let Ronaldo leave.

Fast forward to 2019 March, Zidane returns and in the next transfer window, Gareth Bale is about to move to China. Zidane spoke about Bale’s move in a press conference before a pre-season fixture, but Bale’s move is blocked by the club as Jiangsu Suning wanted a free transfer. And then Bale’s agent goes on to blast Zidane before the media and calls him a disgrace, which further complicates the relationship.

Then Zidane tried his best to move on from that and tried to start it afresh by using Bale in LaLiga from the first game of the season. But things just couldn’t be normal again, with Zidane laving Bale out of the Champions League match against Club Brugge and the “Wales, Golf, Madrid” controversy making it much worse. Things finally broke down between both of them in the summer of 2020 after Zidane didn’t use Bale for most of the important games in LaLiga (with Bale making weird gestures from the bench), despite the Frenchman’s claims that there was no rift.

Then Bale left for his former club Spurs on loan, and had a great season there, registering 16 goals and 3 assists to his name. Among speculation that Bale wants to return to Real Madrid and fulfil the remaining year on his contract, with a statement from the Welshman confirming the same,  Zinedine Zidane leaves which gives Bale the edge in this case.

How is Gareth Bale the only winner here?

Gareth Bale’s wages are about 17 million euros per year. Considering his age and his high wages, no European club would be ready to sign him and pay him such ridiculous wages. Even Real Madrid would like to sell Bale and clear him off their wage list, with several reports suggesting the same.

At this point, the only solution for Gareth Bale would be to go back to real Madrid, where there is still a year remaining on his contract. But Zidane’s presence could’ve made the situation difficult for him because Bale would never have been included in Zidane’s plans. But Bale and his agent aren’t any saints, because Jonathan Barnett has often stressed that Bale is a Real Madrid player, and he had also indicated that Bale would be happy to sit on the bench and still earn 17 million euros for nothing. 

But with Zidane’s departure, Gareth Bale is the only winner here. Though the club is still looking to get rid of him, one of his obstacles at Real Madrid is cleared with Zidane’s exit. And given the stubbornness of Bale’s entourage, Florentino Perez might find it very difficult to sell the Welshman to any other club and free up the wage bill.

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Zidane leaving means the entry of a new manager, and there might be a probability of the new manager liking a player like Gareth Bale and including him in his plans for this season, given that he’s still on contract. And when there attackers in the team who haven’t scored more than 7 goals in the past 3 seasons, it would be an obvious choice for a manager to go after someone who is on form with 16 goals in 2020/21.

All this points to only one thing. Gareth Bale is the only winner with Zidane’s departure.