Real Madrid boss Zinedine Zidane has admitted he hasn't spoken to Gareth Bale despite the fact the Welshman has departed for London to complete a loan move to Tottenham - but insists he never had any problems with him, and instead praised him for his 'phenomenal' achievements.
The 31-year-old fell completely out of favour at Real under Zidane, featuring just once in Los Blancos' final ten league games of the 2019/20 season. While Bale failed to secure a move away last summer, he will now be departing Madrid and returning to Tottenham on loan.
Bale, along with Sergio Reguilon, passed his medical on Thursday ahead of the loan switch – and all that remains now is an official announcement. Speaking ahead of Real's opening clash of the 2020/21 season against Real Sociedad, Zidane was quizzed on his fractious relationship with the winger.
Despite the (very) obvious breakdown in trust, Zidane claimed he never had any problem with Bale, and instead praised him for his achievements at the club. However, he admitted he hasn't actually spoken to the Welshman about the move.
"I'm not annoyed that people are blaming me for his departure because it's not like that," Zidane told the press on Saturday, as quoted by Marca. "The matter is more complicated than that. What I can say is that we didn't have any problems between us.
"No one is going to take away what he's done at Real Madrid. We didn't have any problems, it wasn't like that. I wish him the best. I haven't spoken to him. What he's done here has been phenomenal - you can't dispute that because he's won a lot and shown his quality."
Despite the fact Bale has passed his medical and is in London, Zidane was keen to stress the deal has not been officially completed just yet. He added: "For now, Bale is one of our players. The matter still has to be finalised. We're not going to talk about things that don't make sense. Bale has been spectacular."
Elsewhere, Zidane was also keen to explain why he opted to allow Reguilon to leave on a permanent basis as he travelled with Bale recently to complete his switch to Tottenham (although Real will have a buy-back option inserted into the deal with Spurs).
"The first thing I have to do is congratulate him on last season," Zidane continued. "We have two players for each position - no more. I have two left-backs and I can't have more because then it's a lot. I wish him the best because he had a good season at Sevilla."