Strained relationship? - Zidane explains why he dropped Gareth Bale in Club Brugge win
Strained relationship? - Zidane explains why he dropped Gareth Bale in Club Brugge win
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Strained relationship? - Zidane explains why he dropped Gareth Bale in Club Brugge win

Real Madrid manager Zinedine Zidane has downplayed Gareth Bale's omission from the side that won 3-1 away to Club Brugge in the Champions League on Wednesday night. 

The Welsh international was left out of the squad that won 2-0 against Espanyol on Saturday, raising alarm over a possible fallout. 

The Frenchman, who was forced to answer questions about his exclusion, however, said 'nothing happened' between them, and the decisions were purely based on other factors.

"Nothing happened," he said after the win.

"I had to make three changes and I chose the others. That's it."

The pair has a strained relationship dating back to last season, with Bale coming close to leaving in the summer transfer window. 

He, however, started the season on a high, with Zidane admitting he was among the club's best performers then. 

"Bale's really focused, same as the rest. He wants to do great, he's in a good moment. He's an important player and he knows he's a great player," he said before facing Osasuna in September.

"He helps when we attack and when we defend, as he did in the last game. When everyone is committed, we can do great things," he added.

The Los Blancos will play away to Valencia this weekend, before a midweek clash against rivals Barcelona in the season's first El Classico. 

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