Real Madrid head coach Zinedine Zidane insists there have been no discussions about Gareth Bale leaving in January.
The Wales forward will not feature in the La Liga match against bottom club Leganes on Wednesday night after he was given permission to travel to England to visit his agent, Jonathan Barnett. Sportsmail understands the meeting was routine between the player and his long-term representative.
Bale’s future was once again called into question on Tuesday as he jetted off to London, amid talk that the Welshman was unhappy with the way he was treated over the summer by Zidane. Having seen a summer move fail to materialise, Bale has made a handful of appearances for Los Blancos this season.
This week, there has been more talk of a potential move away from the club in January. Zidane, though, maintains there are no underlying issues with the 30-year-old, who has also struggled with fitness issues since returning from international duty.
‘He went to London on a personal matter and with the permission of the club. He talked to the club because he has a right to personal things,’ the Real Madrid coach said. ‘You have to ask the club for permission, which is the most important thing. He also went because he’s not available. ‘It’s a very simple matter. He asked the club for permission and the club gave it to him.’
Zidane told a press conference: ‘We think that Bale is a player who puts in a lot of effort and trains well. He’s important for this squad and for the club. ‘When he’s not available, he’s not available because he’s got something and that’s it. ‘There’s a lot of talk and a lot of things said. When he’s ready and 100 per cent, we’ll see.
He’s focused on playing well for the team.’ Zidane maintains there have been no suggestions of a January move away. ‘He’s never talked about leaving. If he can train, he trains and if he can play, he plays. In fact, he’s played a lot of games,’ the Real Madrid coach said.
‘I talked to him and James (Rodriguez) in the match with Brugge and they were not available. ‘He (Bale) stayed in the summer and it’s better for everyone. He’s here and he’s happy to be here. ‘It’s impossible to lose the desire. I don’t think about offers coming in.’
Meanwhile Colombia international Rodriguez, has returned home to South America following the birth of his child this week, so will also miss Wednesday night’s home La Liga game.
Midfielder Luka Modric, though, should be back from an injury lay-off after suffering a leg muscle problem during Croatia’s draw with Wales. Real Madrid host Leganes looking to respond from the 1-0 defeat at Real Mallorca in their last La Liga outing.
‘We know the situation and we have a game in which we know what we need to do in order to pick up the three points,’ Zidane said. ‘We have to win matches – that is all we have to do.’