Football

Gareth Bale’s agent blames injuries, Zinedine Zidane for his decline in recent years

Gareth Bale says he is “not worried” about his goal drought as he prepares to lead Wales in their Euro 2020 opener against Switzerland in Baku on Saturday.

Gareth Bale’s agent, Jonathan Barnett, has again spoken out against the Welshman’s former coach at Real Madrid, Zinedine Zidane, in comments carried by Diario AS.

Bale didn’t enjoy a good relationship with Zidane and spent last year on loan at Tottenham Hotspur. Zidane left Madrid at the end of last season and has since been replaced by Carlo Ancelotti.

“The injuries and misunderstanding of recent seasons with Zidane have slowed him down,” Barnett said.

“It’s a shame that’s he’s injured right now, with Carlo Ancelotti again as the coach of Real Madrid. He tore his hamstring, so he has a long way to go.”

Barnett is delighted that Ancelotti is now in charge at the Santiago Bernabeu. The Italian knows how to get a tune out of Bale, something neither Zidane nor Jose Mourinho – his coach at Tottenham – has been able to do of late.

A long-standing suspicion was also confirmed by Barnett; that Bale’s number one priority is his country rather than a club.

“It’s a dream for him to be able to participate in the final phase of a World Cup with Wales,” he said. “That’s the most important thing for him right now, I think.”

Bale led Wales to the semi-final of Euro 2016, a time when he was at the peak of his powers. Now 32, he’s working to return to full fitness in order to return to Ancelotti’s first team.

So far this season Bale has one league goal to his name from three games. Last year, with Tottenham, he scored eleven goals and provided two assists in 20 games in the Premier League.

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