Zinedine Zidane has insisted once again that there is no problem between himself and Gareth Bale, after the Welsh star was named on the substitutes bench in Real's 1-1 draw with Athletic Club on Wednesday night.
Bale did come off the bench with 20 minutes to play and nearly made an instant impact, only to see his shot fly narrowly wide. In the end, it was Cristiano Ronaldo's instinctive back heel which finally beat an inspired Athletic keeper Kepa Arrizabalaga to cancel out Inaki Williams' first half goal for Bilbao.
Rumours about Bale's future have been circling for months, but Zidane, talking in his post-match press conference, denied having any rift with the Welshman.
"There is no problem (with Bale)", he said. "He is one of 25 players in the squad. He did not start today, others did and are playing well too. You keep asking but my answer on this will not change."
Zidane also defended his transfer policy, after seeing Athletic keeper Kepa Arrizabalaga put in a man of the match display to deny his side scoring multiple times, especially in the first half. Los Blancos had to chance to sign the 23-year-old in January, but pulled out of the deal.
"I do not make changes in the middle of the season, Kepa is a good goalkeeper. He was very good but the defence was good too and you know I do not speak of the future."
The draw at the Bernabeu tented Madrid's hopes of finishing about their rivals Atletico in second place in La Liga. All the focus for them will now shift onto next Wednesdays Champions League showdown with Bayern Munich at the Aliianz Arena.