Zinedine Zidane defends Gareth Bale's early exit from Real Madrid draw with Real Betis

Gareth Bale has scored two goals for Real Madrid in seven appearances this season
Image: Gareth Bale has scored two goals for Real Madrid in seven appearances this season

Zinedine Zidane defended Gareth Bale and James Rodriguez after both players left the Santiago Bernabeu before the end of Real Madrid’s La Liga draw with Real Betis.

Zidane saw his Real side drop points for the fifth time in 11 league matches on Saturday as they missed a chance to move two points clear at the top of the table after leaders Barcelona lost 3-1 to Levante.

The French head coach insisted Bale, who was not part of the matchday squad for the 0-0 draw, had not shown a lack of commitment with his decision to leave the ground - something he has done before this season.

Zidane has previously insisted Bale has permission to do so, while his exit did not conflict with club policy, which forbids players from leaving the stadium before the 80th minute if in attendance

"I don't think it's a lack of respect at all," Zidane said.

"Both players were here before the game to cheer on their team-mates, that's the most important thing."

Bale has not featured for Real since sustaining an injury in Wales' 1-1 draw with Croatia on October 13.

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Gareth Bale came close to leaving Real Madrid during the summer 0:29
Jonathan Barnett, recently named the world’s most powerful agent, spoke to Sky Sports News last month about Gareth Bale's future at Real Madrid

The 30-year-old was seen last month in London, leading to several reports that he was holding transfer talks with his agent Jonathan Barnett about a potential move to China but Zidane said the player had been given permission for "personal reasons".

Bale was close to securing a move to Chinese club Jiangsu Suning during the summer transfer window in a deal which would have seen the 30-year-old earn £1m-a-week.

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