Belfast Telegraph

Bale's good display changes nothing, says Zidane


Shown the door: Real Madrid star Gareth Bale greets Arsenal defender Calum Chambers after the game
Shown the door: Real Madrid star Gareth Bale greets Arsenal defender Calum Chambers after the game

By Ellie Cullen

Zinedine Zidane praised Gareth Bale for a "good performance" after the Welshman played a pivotal role in Real Madrid's 3-2 penalty shootout win against Arsenal.

The Real boss has faced criticism in recent days over comments about Bale's potential departure from the club and later denied showing a lack of respect to the forward.

Speaking after the friendly clash in Washington DC on Tuesday, Zidane said he had been pleased with Bale's efforts after he sparked a second-half comeback against the Gunners.

"He played today, he wanted to and he did a good job," he said.

"He put in a good performance and I'm pleased for him. He wanted to be with us today, he trained normally and played the match."

Bale came on as a substitute at half-time, after Alexandre Lacazette and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang had put Arsenal in front.

Nine minutes later he found the back of the net, tapping in from six yards to halve the deficit.

His goal was swiftly followed by another from Marco Asensio, whose clinical finish pulled the Spanish giants level and left the scores tied at 2-2 at full-time.

Zidane, who claimed on Monday that Bale had not played against Bayern Munich last weekend because he did not want to, said the situation surrounding his potential exit remained unchanged.

"He's here and I don't know what will happen," he added.

Despite impressing throughout the rest of the game, Bale had less success in the penalty shootout and his tame effort was easily saved by Emiliano Martinez.

Real claimed the victory when Gunners youngster Robbie Burton sent his attempt over the bar.

Laurent Koscielny, meanwhile, appears to be on his way out of Arsenal after manager Unai Emery suggested he plays no part in his plans for the new season.

The France defender opted out of the club's pre-season tour of the United States, according to Emery - who stated he will instead work with "players that want to be here".

"I tried to continue working and finding one solution between the club, between him and us," said Emery.

"When he decided not to come here with us on tour, the solution is now only for the club and him.

"He decided to be out. I respect him but I have a responsibility, he has a responsibility, and the club have their responsibility.

"Now it's an issue only for the club and him. My idea is to continue with the players we are working with, and the players that want to be here."

Koscielny, 33, signed from Lorient in 2010 and has since played over 350 games for Arsenal, scoring 27 goals and being named club captain last season.

He has been linked with several clubs back home in France, including Bordeaux and Rennes.

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