Zinedine Zidane’s Gareth Bale ‘fourth sub’ comments refuted after Real Madrid’s loss to Betis

Real Madrid boss Zinedine Zidane this evening opened up on his decision not to hand Gareth Bale any playing time during his side’s final outing of the season. However, one particular quote attributed to the Frenchman has since been firmly denied.

Real 0-2 Betis

Los Blancos welcomed Real Betis to the Bernabeu a short time ago, for a La Liga clash.

The capital giants, who headed into proceedings having picked up just a solitary win from their last 4 league outings, were aware ahead of kick-off that they had nothing to play for, having sat 8 points adrift of city-rivals Atletico in 2nd.

And Real’s subsequent showing over the 90 minutes this afternoon certainly painted the picture of a side with their collective focus firmly set on a summer break.

When all was said and done in Madrid, Betis emerged with a deserved 2-0 victory, courtesy of goals from Loren Moron and former Blancos’ attacker Jese Rodriguez.

As such, an altogether abysmal season on the part of the soon-to-be dethroned European champions came to a fitting close.

Bale snubbed

Another key talking point surrounding Real’s final outing of the campaign today came in the form of the futures of Keylor Navas and Gareth Bale.

Both players, in particular Bale, have been heavily-linked with summer exits from the Bernabeu.

As such, it was predicted that both would see some form of playing time this afternoon, in a farewell appearance of sorts.

But, while Navas started and played out the full 90 minutes, Bale was confined to the bench for the entirety of proceedings.

‘Must act in the best interests of the team at all times’

As such, despite having played an integral role in Real’s Champions League and Copa Del Rey triumphs in years past, the Welshman now looks likely to depart the Spanish powerhouse without any form of sendoff.

Gareth Bale scores vs Liverpool

Gareth Bale scores Real Madrid’s second goal during the UEFA Champions League Final between Real Madrid and Liverpool. (Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)

Blancos’ boss Zinedine Zidane was therefore inevitably questioned on his decision to leave Bale out altogether during his post-match press conference this evening, with the French tactician having explained:

‘I don’t know if it’s the last game for them or not. I don’t know what’s going to happen. Keylor played well but we’ll see what happens next season.’

On whether Bale deserved a chance to make one final appearance, Zidane continued:

‘I’m sorry he didn’t get to play, but no-one knows what will happen.’

‘If I think a player doesn’t fit in the team I have to do what I think works best. No-one can change what Bale has done for the team. But as a coach I have to live in the present.’

‘I have counted on other players in more in recent weeks.

‘I make these decisions when it is right to do so. And I must act in the best interests of the team at all times.’

Quotes via the Telegraph

‘Fake news’

Crucially, however, one quote attributed to the Real boss by media outlets around Europe has this evening been firmly denied.

Zidane was widely-reported to have sniped:

‘If I had a fourth substitute, I would not have brought him on.’

As per Ben Hayward of the Evening Standard, though, the former Merengues’ midfielder said no such thing:

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