'Zidane never trusted Gareth Bale - things deteriorated to extraordinary insults'

 Zinedine Zidane and Gareth Bale both scored two of Real Madrid's most iconic goals in Champions League finals - but the feuding manager and player's similarities ended there

'Zidane never trusted Gareth Bale - things deteriorated to extraordinary insults'

Former Real Madrid manager Zinedine Zidane “never trusted” Gareth Bale as their relationship descended to “extraordinary” insults.

Bale’s achievements with Los Blancos exceeded any expectations anyone in football would have had before he signed from Tottenham for a then-world record £85million in 2013.

The Welshman has gone down as the finest British export in the modern game, winning an astonishing five Champions League titles among a host of other trophies. That includes three successive European cups under Zidane between 2016 and 2018.

Yet his heroics, including a jaw-dropping overhead kick against Liverpool in 2018’s final, weren’t enough to endear him to Zidane.

Spanish football expert Guillem Balague has now revealed the Frenchman simply didn’t trust Bale nor fully appreciate him, benching the forward for the latter two Champions League finals as they clashed beyond repair.

Speaking on a Bale tribute show for Welsh TV station S4C, Balague said: “He’s the best player to leave Britain ever. That’s a fact.

“He’s one of the big players in Madrid’s history. He scored more [Madrid] goals than [Brazilian] Ronaldo. He has almost double Zidane’s titles.

“Zidane never trusted Gareth Bale. The feeling the manager didn’t love you created a feeling of frustration. Things deteriorated to the level of extraordinary insults.

“Just as at the cinema, the end defines how you feel about the film and the end was a sad one.”

Bale became an even more divisive figure during Zidane’s second spell when injuries and a souring relationship saw him receive limited playing opportunities.

His favour among the Real Madrid supporters wasn’t helped by a perceived willingness to prioritise his love for Wales over the La Liga giants.

Relations took a turn for the worse when he celebrated reaching Euro 2020 with team-mates behind a flag reading: ‘Wales, Golf, Madrid - in that order’.

Bale finally left the Spanish club for LAFC in 2022 after winning his fifth Champions League. He remained in the MLS until the World Cup, after which he retired from football.

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