It is no secret that Zinedine Zidane and Gareth Bale have not worked well together. The Frenchman has often left the Welshman struggling for opportunities in the Real Madrid first-team, despite dealing with one of the most expensive players in the world.

After much rumours about Bale’s future, Zidane has finally admitted that the 30-year-old can leave the club with immediate effect. The nature and tone of the statements have left a sour taste in Bale’s camp. According to Sky Sports, Zidane said:

“Bale did not play because he is very close to leaving. We hope he leaves soon, it would be best for everyone. We are working on his transfer to a new team.

“I have nothing personal against him, but there is a time where things are done because they must be done. I have to make decisions, we have to change.”

Bale is currently making around £600,000 per week at Madrid making him a huge burden on the club’s resources, but Bale’s stock at the club has been on the decline ever since Zidane took over the reins from Rafa Benitez in 2016.

Bale’s agent Jonathan Barnett wasted no time in blasting Zidane for his comments. He said: “Zidane is a disgrace, he shows no respect for a player that has done so much for Real Madrid.”

The comments made by the Frenchman did not appear to give respect to a player who has picked up 13 major honours – including a whopping four Champions League medals – with the club in the last six years. There is no doubt that Bale’s career has been plagued by injuries – especially in the last couple of years. The low point of his Real Madrid tenure coincided with Zidane’s first full season with the club, and Bale made only 19 league appearances in the 2016-17 campaign. Last season, however, the Welshman had a relatively decent return of eight goals in 29 league appearances.

A number of clubs have been trying to sign Bale despite the player being on the wrong side of 30. Yet, a move has not come about due to Bale’s reluctance to drop down from his astronomical wage demands. Apart from a release clause worth around £450 million, the winger makes around £30 million per season. Bale signed this contract in 2016 and, back then, it allowed the Welshman to jump above Ronaldo in terms of salary per week.

Unsurprisingly, the intense political atmosphere at the Santiago Bernabeu has not gone silent with the latest developments. Former president Ramon Calderon has described the situation as a soap opera, and it is something that Real Madrid did not want before the start of the new campaign.

The Spanish giants come on the back of a very disappointing season that saw the team finish third in the table for the second season in a row. After having managed just one La Liga title in the last seven seasons, there is huge pressure on Zidane going into the new season and the pre-season results have not been encouraging.

A number of clubs will struggle to sign Bale, who is valued in excess of £60 million by Madrid. There could be a reason behind Zidane going public with regard to Bale’s future. After repeated failures to sell the player for the last few months, Madrid have now categorically opened up on Bale’s situation in the squad. Now, the ball is in Bale’s court. Does he pick up the huge wages and sit in the reserves or seek a move elsewhere?