Zidane confident Bale will remain at Madrid

Zinedine Zidane believes Gareth Bale will still be at Real Madrid next season, despite increasing suggestions he will return to the Premier League.

The Welshman has spent five seasons in Spain but has lost his place in the starting line-up in another injury-blighted campaign, with Zidane favouring Isco, Marco Asensio and Lucas Vazquez. 

Bale, frequently linked to Manchester United, was an unused substitute in Madrid's stunning 3-0 win over Juventus in the Champions League on Tuesday, but the coach insists he remains firmly in his plans.

"My feeling is that Bale is going to stay at Real Madrid next season," said Zidane.

"He is not going to lose his motivation. He is an important player.

"It's true that there are other players playing and they are doing very well.

"I would understand if he wasn't feeling as motivated, because players want to play every game. But he has to keep working."

Speaking ahead of his side's derby clash against Atletico Madrid on Sunday, Zidane revealed he has no intention of giving Barcelona a guard of honour if they clinch the LaLiga title before their meeting at Camp Nou next month.

Ernesto Valverde's side hold a nine-point lead over Atletico at the summit and could stretch that to 12 with a win over Leganes on Saturday.

It is customary for newly crowned champions to be welcomed onto the pitch by their opponents for the remainder of that campaign, but Zidane cited Barca's refusal to do so for his side after their Club World Cup triumph earlier this season as his reason.

"We are not going to make the guard of honour for Barcelona," he added.

"I don't understand the guard of honour. Barcelona already broke that tradition so it doesn't exist anymore."

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