Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 18 June 2019

Zinedine Zidane hints Gareth Bale set to play his last game at Real Madrid against Real Betis

Madrid face Betis at the Bernabeu in their final match of a campaign that will see them finish third, behind both Barcelona and Atletico Madrid

Zinedine Zidane says he has the final say on who stays and who goes at Real Madrid. EPA
Zinedine Zidane says he has the final say on who stays and who goes at Real Madrid. EPA

Real Madrid manager Zinedine Zidane used Saturday's pre-match press conference to hint that Sunday's final La Liga game of the season could be Welsh forward Gareth Bale's last for the club.

Zidane said there would be changes to his line-up against Real Betis with Bale having been left out of Real's last two matches against Villarreal and Real Sociedad.

Zidane said Bale would be in the squad against Betisbut, asked by reporters if it would be his last game for Madrid, he said: "I don't know, I can't tell you. It's the season finale and next year there are going to be changes. But I don't know what is going to happen."

Bale fell out with Zidane towards the end of the Frenchman's first spell in charge in May 2018 and their relationship has quickly soured again after Zidane replaced Santiago Solari in the Madrid dugout in March.

Madrid face Betis at the Bernabeu in their final match of a campaign that will see them finish third, behind both Barcelona and Atletico Madrid, and with only one trophy - the Fifa Club World Cup won in the UAE in December. Madrid were knocked out of the Copa del Rey by Barca and the Champions League by Ajax in four days just over a week before Zidane returned to the club.

Zidane has pledged to make changes once the campaign is over, with several players including Bale expected to be sold, and defended his right to make the big calls.

"It's my decision," Zidane told reporters. "That is clear as water. I'm the coach and I will always do what I want to do. If not, I'll leave.

"For signings and those sorts of things we have people who work on them but we work together."

Zidane took charge with Madrid's season all-but over and their performances have fizzled out in recent weeks.

Their defeat by Real Sociedad last weekend means they have lost two of their last three matches and won only three of their last eight.

"The message is clear, it is the last game and we want to say goodbye to the fans with a good game and a victory," said Zidane.

"It has been a complicated year and I want to convey that we are looking ahead to next season and to show the fans that we will return with enthusiasm to make them proud of the team again."

Updated: May 18, 2019 05:45 PM

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