Zidane pours cold water on Bale’s Tottenham return

Real Madrid
Gareth Bale’s omission from Real Madrid's squad for Wednesday’s La Liga clash with Osasuna has left reporters baffled.

Real Madrid boss Zinedine Zidane has dismissed speculation Gareth Bale could make a sensational return to Tottenham before the transfer window closes.

Speculation regarding Bale’s future at Real has circulated for a number of months, with the Wales international coming close to joining Chinese Super League outfit Jiangsu Suning.

The 30-year-old has long been linked with a return to the Premier League, with Manchester United previously credited with an interest, while talk he could re-join Tottenham has gathered pace during the current transfer window.

Bale left Spurs to join Real for a then world-record fee of £85.3million in 2013 and a return to north London could appeal although Zidane has now quashed any suggestion of a transfer happening this month.

“Gareth is with us, I do not contemplate this possibility,” Zidane responded to questions regarding Bale’s future. “I’m counting on him.”

Zidane and Bale’s relationship has appeared strained at times this season, with the forward only starting nine games in La Liga so far this term, while he hasn’t featured at all in the league since Real’s 3-0 victory at Getafe on January 4.

Los Blancos are due to take on city rivals Atletico Madrid at the Bernabeu on Saturday and Zidane would not be drawn on whether or not Bale will play.

“There are 25 players and the good thing is that they are all involved,” Zidane added. “Those who play give their all out on the pitch and that is the most important thing.

“Then I’m the one who chooses because I’m the coach. As there are 25 [players to choose from], it’s difficult to call up 18.”