Zidane confirms Gareth Bale ‘didn’t want to play’ vs Man City/Eden Hazard fitness latest

Real Madrid boss Zinedine Zidane has this evening provided updates on a pair of his side’s wingers, ahead of their imminent showdown with Manchester City.

Man City vs Real Madrid

Los Blancos are set to return to European action tomorrow night.

After wrapping up the La Liga title last month, the capital giants will travel to the Etihad, for a highly-anticipated Champions League last-16 2nd-leg meeting with Man City.

Real will head into proceedings as underdogs to advance, having fallen to defeat in the tie’s opener at the Bernabeu.

Despite having taken the lead courtesy of Isco’s strike back in February, a late collapse eventually saw both Gabriel Jesus and Kevin De Bruyne find the net for City, leaving the visitors with it all to do in Manchester in 24 hours’ time.

Adding to the uphill task facing Los Merengues, meanwhile, is the fact that they will be devoid of the services of captain and leader Sergio Ramos.

The Spanish stopper was given his marching orders late on in the tie’s first-leg, with Ramos suspended for the return as a result.

Bale out/Hazard in

And, as outlined above, speaking this evening, Zinedine Zidane provided an update on a further pair of his side’s stars.

First up came Gareth Bale.

Welsh wide-man Bale has of course endured a nightmare season in Madrid, and has managed just a solitary start in all competitions since February.

It nevertheless came as a surprise, though, when the former Tottenham standout was completely omitted from Real’s travelling squad to face Man City.

As such, during a press conference a short time ago, Zidane was inevitably drawn on the situation.

And the French tactician went on to confirm that Bale’s absence was in fact not down to the 31-year-old being dropped, but rather Bale not making himself available for selection:

‘I will explain because many things are said.’

‘We have a relationship of respect between player and coach, that is clear. The only thing I can say is that he has decided not to play, and the rest is between him and me.’

BARCELONA, SPAIN – OCTOBER 28: Gareth Bale of Real Madrid CF looks on during the La Liga match between FC Barcelona and Real Madrid CF at Camp Nou on October 28, 2018 in Barcelona, Spain. (Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images)

When pressed further on the matter, Zidane added:

‘I have already answered before about the situation. The rest is a conversation between the player and the coach, and I am not going to tell you anything.’

Finally, after being drawn on Bale’s future at the Bernabeu by another reporter, a clearly irked Zidane stated:

‘Gareth Bale is a Real Madrid player, nothing changes. I respect that.’

‘He has decided not to play. All of us here are focused on tomorrow’s game.’

The news regarding another of Real’s big-money wingers, on the other hand, was more positive.

Zidane was also asked for a fitness update on Eden Hazard during his press conference, with the Blancos boss having confirmed that the Belgian international is ‘much better now’, on the back of a number of recent fitness issues:

‘He has had some discomfort about the end of La Liga, but I think he is much better now, we have had time to prepare for the game and now he is confident.’

‘I think there was a minor setback after that second injury but now hopefully he can play and hopefully there will be nothing there to hold him back.’

Quotes via Goal

Man City confident Sergio Aguero will not join Independiente this summer/Guardiola provides injury update on Argentine

Pep Guardiola confirms Eric Garcia doesn’t want to extend his Man City contract

This article was edited by Josh Barker.

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