Zidane claims doctor stopped Bale from travelling with Madrid

By Sports Desk July 30, 2019

Gareth Bale did not travel for Real Madrid's participation in the Audi Cup on doctor's advice, according to head coach Zinedine Zidane.

Madrid suffered their third defeat in four winless pre-season outings at the Allianz Arena on Tuesday – Harry Kane giving Tottenham a 1-0 triumph that would have been far more comfortable but for the heroics of goalkeeper Keylor Navas.

Bale is not part of the squad taking part in the exhibition tournament but looks increasingly likely to remain under Zidane's charge after a prospective move to Chinese Super League side Jiangsu Suning collapsed over the weekend.

"Bale did not travel as he was not feeling good," the Madrid head coach told reporters afterwards.

"Speaking with the doctors it was better to stay in Madrid and train there. That's it. It's a decision taken together, speaking with him. That's it."

Bale was on target in the 2-2 draw against Arsenal that remains Los Blancos' only positive result in their preparations for the 2019-20 campaign – though he missed his spot-kick in the 3-2 penalty shoot-out victory that followed.

Zidane was also unwilling to offer any clarity on James Rodriguez's future – another player apparently surplus to requirements under the Frenchman – but is unperturbed by the poor form of those who are part of his plans.

"I always think positively," he said. "I know it is difficult, we are coming off a tough season and Madridistas might not think it but we have a great team.

"We are not ready yet but we will pick up confidence and play and come out of this. We just need to win a game."

Navas' performance was one of few highlights for Madrid as he made a string of excellent saves either side of Kane's goal in the first half.

Thibaut Courtois suffered a sprained ankle as he shipped five first-half goals in the 7-3 loss to Atletico Madrid in New Jersey.

The Belgium international's previously expressed certainty that it was "clear" who the Madrid number one would be this term no longer looks so well placed.

"Keylor played a great game, that's it," Zidane added. "What Thibaut said [about being number one] we'd have to see.

"There are no automatic starters here. We're all in the same team, and all must be prepared."

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  • Real Madrid agree to Barcelona proposal of December 18 Clasico Real Madrid agree to Barcelona proposal of December 18 Clasico

    Real Madrid have agreed with Barcelona's suggestion to move the first LaLiga Clasico of the season to December 18.

    The Royal Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) confirmed on Friday that it had postponed the match at Camp Nou due to safety concerns amid the ongoing political tensions and protests in Catalonia.

    Violent scenes broke out in Barcelona after nine Catalan political leaders received long prison sentences for their roles in the region's 2017 referendum and subsequent unilateral declaration of independence.

    A rally in the city has been called by pro-independence politicians for October 26, the day Barca were due to host Madrid, prompting the RFEF to intervene.

    The Competition Committee has told the two clubs to agree to a revised date for the game before next Monday and Barca suggested December 18 as the best option.

    In a statement released later on Friday, Madrid said: "In light of the Competition Committee ruling which postpones the match scheduled to be played on Saturday October 26 between Barcelona and Real Madrid, and states the clubs must agree a new date for the fixture, Real Madrid wishes to communicate that the date proposed by both said clubs is December 18."

    Speaking earlier, head coach Zinedine Zidane said he was prepared to adapt to any plans to reschedule the fixture.

    "If we have to play on the 26th, we will, and if we have to change, the important thing is to be prepared," he told a news conference.

    "I know there is a lot of debate because it's logical, but my position as coach is this: to be ready on the date that the appropriate person tells us. We'll adapt.

    "I have a preference but I'm not going to tell you. We know it could be the seventh, the eighteenth – we'll adapt to this."

    December 18, a Wednesday, is seen by many as an appropriate date as neither Barca nor Madrid are involved in the planned Copa del Rey fixtures on that day.

    LaLiga reportedly put forward December 7 as its preferred date, as it would keep the match on a Saturday, but this would require Barca's meeting with Real Mallorca and Madrid's game against Espanyol to be moved.

    Barca and Madrid are also playing their final Champions League group games, away to Inter and Club Brugge respectively, within four days after December 7.

  • Juventus striker Mandzukic agrees to stay out of training Juventus striker Mandzukic agrees to stay out of training

    Mario Mandzukic's days at Juventus look to be numbered after Maurizio Sarri confirmed the forward will not take part in training unless his transfer situation changes.

    Mandzukic, 33, has not played a single competitive minute since Sarri took charge at Allianz Stadium and was left off Juve's 22-man list for the Champions League.

    AC Milan are rumoured to have joined Manchester United in the race for the Bianconeri outcast, who reportedly held talks with Qatari side Al Rayyan last month

    Mandzukic is said to want to explore his options and an understanding has been reached for him to refrain from training, a move that reduces chances of injury ahead of a potential transfer.

    However, Sarri did not entirely rule out the possibility of the Croatian returning to the fold.

    "Mandzukic is not training with us, in agreement with the club," the Juve head coach told a news conference on Friday. "If the agreement changes, I am open to everything."

    While the former Wolfsburg, Bayern Munich and Atletico Madrid attacker is out of the frame for now, Sarri will regain defender Danilo for Saturday's home game against Bologna.

    The full-back has recovered from a thigh injury and is set to join the Aaron Ramsey in the matchday squad, the midfielder having overcome the minor muscle problem that kept him out of Wales duty.

    Juve head into the weekend as Serie A leaders thanks to their 2-1 win over title rivals Inter before the international break.

    The victory was seen as a vindication of the new playing style Sarri has brought to the club but he is hesitant to place too much emphasis on a single result.

    "I've been living with scepticism for years, so it doesn't affect me," the ex-Chelsea boss said.

    "The rankings in the table right now are not important. We have to concentrate on finding the right continuity in terms of performance.

    "That game against Inter was important but it has passed, so we need to focus only on the next one.

    "It's always difficult starting again after the international break. It's not easy for the players and there are a lot of risks."

  • Barcelona want December 18 Clasico as Zidane vows to 'adapt' to fixture change Barcelona want December 18 Clasico as Zidane vows to 'adapt' to fixture change

    Barcelona have proposed rearranging the first Clasico of the season to December 18 after it was announced it will not take place next Saturday as planned.

    The Royal Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) confirmed on Friday that it had postponed the match at Camp Nou due to safety concerns amid the ongoing political tensions and protests in Catalonia.

    Violent scenes broke out in Barcelona after nine Catalan political leaders received long prison sentences for their roles in the region's 2017 referendum and subsequent unilateral declaration of independence.

    A rally in the city has been called by pro-independence politicians for October 26, the day Barca were due to host Madrid, prompting the RFEF to intervene.

    The Competition Committee has told the two clubs to agree to a revised date for the game before next Monday and Barca have suggested December 18 as the best option.

    "The club's desire was to play the Clasico at Camp Nou on the 26th, the date and time previously agreed and the Committee was informed of this in writing," they said in a statement on Friday.

    "The club has the utmost confidence in the civic and pacific attitude of its members and fans who always express themselves in exemplary fashion at Camp Nou.

    "Nevertheless, having received the decision of the RFEF Competition Committee to postpone the game citing 'exceptional circumstances' and given that it falls to the clubs to agree a new date for the game before Monday, the club will propose December 18.

    "The club regrets the inconvenience that this postponement may cause to members, supporters' club members and fans and it has now begun the necessary steps to refund money from Monday 21 October for tickets already purchased."

    Madrid have not yet responded publicly to Barca's suggestion but head coach Zinedine Zidane insists his squad will be ready to adapt to the revised schedule.

    "I know you're all interested in this subject, but we're going to do what they [club officials] tell us," he told a news conference.

    "If we have to play on the 26th, we will, and if we have to change, the important thing is to be prepared.

    "I know there is a lot of debate because it's logical, but my position as coach is this: to be ready on the date that the appropriate person tells us. We'll adapt.

    "I have a preference but I'm not going to tell you. We know it could be the seventh, the eighteenth – we'll adapt to this."

    December 18, a Wednesday, is seen by many as an appropriate date as neither Barca nor Madrid are involved in the planned Copa del Rey fixtures for that date.

    LaLiga has reportedly put forward December 7 as its preferred date, as it would keep the match on a Saturday, but this would require Barca's meeting with Real Mallorca and Madrid's game against Espanyol to be moved.

    Barca and Madrid are also playing their final Champions League group games, away to Inter and Club Brugge respectively, within four days after December 7.

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