Here’s how the relationship between Zidane and Bale has deteriorated since the Frenchman returned to the Bernabeu.
Mar 11 – Zidane returns to Real Madrid and within a couple of days Bale’s agent Jonathan Barnett claims the player’s past feud with the French boss was down to style of play. Barnett said ‘Gareth wanted to play one way and Zidane wanted him to play another’ but the agent also insisted his man was ‘fine’ with the manager’s return.
Mar 15 – Zidane insists Bale has a role to play and that he will ‘count on him’ during the season run-in.
Mar 16 – Zidane’s first game back in charge and Bale starts and scores in a 2-0 home win over Celta Vigo to take his season’s tally to 14 and his Real Madrid haul to 102 in 231 games. It would prove to be Bale’s last goal of the campaign.
Mar 29 – With transfer talk ramping up Zidane is asked about Bale’s future. He refuses to commit: ‘We are going to play these 10 games and then we will see. I will not talk about next season, we have 10 games left. Gareth is an important member of the squad, we know what he has done here, especially in the Champions League finals. Nobody can take away what he has done. We know he can bring a lot to the team and we will count on him.’
Mar 31 – Bale plays 90 minutes against Huesca as Real need a last-minute goal from Karim Benzema to seal a 3-2 win.
Apr 3 – Bale is benched and comes on with 25 minutes left as Real go down 2-1 to Valencia. he’s been linked with Man United but Bale is reported to have told those close to him he has no plans to leave Spain.
Apr 6 – Bale starts against Eibar but is taken off and booed by his own fans and once again Zidane refuses to confirm if the Welshman will be at the club next season. Zidane once again admits to always being an admirer of Eden Hazard.
Apr 10 – Barnett brushes off the boos, saying: ‘He is very happy here. He is a Real Madrid player and right now he is not thinking about a return to England.’
Apr 12 – Spanish paper AS report that Bale WILL be sold in the summer and the asking price is £113m.
Apr 14 – Despite the latest story, it’s more of the same from Zidane: ‘There are seven games left. Let’s see how we play. There will be changes but Gareth is part of the team.’
Apr 15 – Bale is only brought off the bench for the final nine minutes of a 1-1 draw at Leganes.
Apr 21 – He’s benched again for the home match with Athletic Bilbao and given just 20 minutes as Benzema steals the show with a hat-trick in a 3-0 win. The boo-boys target Bale again and Zidane says: ‘I feel for him. I would like to have seen him score today.’ Asked about the jeering Zidane added: ‘I do not understand it.’
Apr 23 – Bale is on the front of the Madrid papers with Marca reporting he’ll be sent out on loan. There’s also talk about him being shunted to left back.
Apr 25 – He starts in his normal position but is again subbed in the second half of a 0-0 draw at Getafe.
Apr 27 – Ahead of hosting Rayo Vallecano, Zidane is asked about Bale, Isco and Dani Ceballos. He says: ‘If they’re under contract, they can stay here, even if they know that they’re not going to get game time. However, I think that all of them are looking to play. If I was asked the question, I’d want to go elsewhere and get more minutes.’
Apr 28 – A difficult 90 minutes for Bale who does not join the rest of his team after a 1-0 defeat by Ray Vallecano. Instead of boarding the team bus with the rest of the squad, he heads straight to the airport. Zidane says: ‘I do not know if he’s focused on Madrid.’
Apr 29 – In response, Barnett says Bale is: ‘100 per cent committed.’
May 5 – Bale is dropped for the game against Villarreal despite Benzema being injured. Zidane says: ‘I am the coach and I have to make a squad and take decisions. [Bale] just has to train and play. I can’t speak about individual players. They know where they stand and the responsibilities they have. I hope for the best from each of the players, that’s why we train each week.’ Real win 3-2.
May 6 – Zidane tells Bale in a face-to-face meeting that he is not part of his plans for next season. Bale insists he wants to fight for his place.
May 12 – Zidane leaves Bale out of the squad for the second game in a row. The boss admits he sent a message: ‘It’s very clear what I’ve done this weekend, we’ll see what I do next week and what happens next year’ They lose 3-1 at Real Sociedad.
May 14 – PSG’s name thrown in as a potential destination for Bale. His former club Tottenham are also linked.
May 19 – Bale is back in the squad for the final game of the season but spends the entire 2-0 defeat by Real Betis on the bench. Spanish radio report that Bale has told team-mates he is happy to see out his contract. Madrid finish the season a record 19 points behind Barcelona.
May 22 – Almost 5 MILLION Real fans take part in a vote for players they want to keep and only nine per cent want to hold on to Bale.
Jun 5 – Inter Milan manager Antonio Conte reported to be keen on a move for Bale, who is on international duty with Wales.
Jun 12 – Manchester United’s interest appears to be dimming but Bayern Munich have now been credited with interest in a loan deal.
Jun 18 – Barnett rules out Bale moving to England and backs him to stay at the Bernabeu.
Jun 27 – Bale features in the photoshoot to promote Real’s new away kit for 2019-20 and he tells them he’ll be ready for the pre-season tour.
Jul 6 – Real Madrid are willing to make Bale part of a cash-plus-player deal to land Paul Pogba from Manchester United.
Jul 9 – Bale is booed by fans when he turns up for Real Madrid pre-season training. The first real offer from China comes in – worth £1.2MILLION a week but Real reject it as it only covers wages with no fee involved.
Jul 21 – The saga takes an ugly turn as Bale is left in the stands for Real’s first pre-season friendly against Bayern Munich, Zidane says ‘we hope he leaves soon, it would be best for everyone,’ and Barnett brands the boss ‘a disgrace’.
Jul 22 – There’s more than one offer on the table from the Far East and they would make Bale the highest-paid football in Chinese football history. A photo of Bale in a Jiangsu Suning shirt appears online and it looks like he’s heading there on a weekly wage of £1.2M.
Jul 23 – Zidane insists Bale refused to play against Bayern.
Jul 24 – Bale plays in the friendly with Arsenal and Real’s Marco Asensio tears his ACL. Reports in Spain say this will not stop Bale being sent to China. Zidane then confirms this.
Jul 26 – Bale is on the brink of joining Jiangsu Suning and on top of his wage there is a £20m signing-on fee.
Real are hammered 7-3 by fierce rivals Atletico Madrid in a pre-season friendly in New Jersey. Despite his team being hammered Bale is pictured laughing on the bench. He comes on with just under half an hour to go.
Jul 28 – Real Madrid pull the plug on Bale’s move to China.
Jul 29 – Bale tells Madrid he’s too distressed to travel to Munich for the pre-season clash with Spurs following the collapse of his move to China.
Jul 30 – The forward is pictured in another new strip – this time he posts images on social media of him in the new Real Madrid third kit.
July 31 – Pictures emerge of Bale playing golf having not travelled with the squad for their pre-season friendly.