Bale scores for Madrid in substitute appearance against Arsenal
Real Madrid outcast Gareth Bale was introduced by Zinedine Zidane at half-time in the International Champions Cup clash with Arsenal.Bale has been tipped for an imminent departure from Madrid after he was left out of the squad for last week’s defeat to Bayern Munich.Zidane confirmed Bale was close to leaving the Santiago Bernabeu, with the Madrid boss determined to sell the Wales international sooner rather than later. Article continues below Editors’ Picks Emery out of jail – for now – as brilliant Pepe papers over Arsenal’s cracks What is Manchester United’s ownership situation and how would Kevin Glazer’s sale of shares affect the club? Ox-rated! Dream night in Genk for Liverpool ace after injury nightmare Messi a man for all Champions League seasons – but will this really be Barcelona’s? Bale – linked to the Chinese Super League – was among the substitutes in Maryland on Tuesday and he came off the bench as 10-man Madrid trailed Arsenal 2-0 at the interval.Madrid had Nacho Fernandez sent off for a handball in the ninth minute before Alexandre Lacazette and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang put Arsenal in control.But with Bale leading the line in place of Karim Benzema, the Spanish giants stormed back rather quickly. It was the Welsh star who pulled the first goal back for his club, popping up in the right place to poke home 56 minutes in. A fine finish from Marco Asensio three minutes later pulled Madrid level, putting home a low Marcelo cross as the clubs continued to put on quite a show. Bale nearly scored a second just after the hour mark, slipping between Arsenal defenders to get a clever re-directed shot on the Arsenal goal only to be denied by a fine save. The time on the pitch may prove to be a rare moment of calm for the 30-year-old, who has seen a war of words between his manager and his agent in recent days played out in the press. But it seems the situation may have calmed down a bit as the new week got underway. “I’ll try to be very clear with this, with Gareth,” Zidane told a news conference on Monday.”Firstly, I have not disrespected anyone, least of all a player because I always said the same thing, that players are the most important thing and every time there is a player here I am always with them.”Secondly, I said the club was trying to get him out. Period.”Thirdly, the other day Gareth didn’t play because he didn’t want to. He said the club was trying to negotiate his departure he and didn’t want to play because of that.”So far, Bale hasn’t asked not to play tomorrow.”Even that seemingly changed overnight, with the Wales star coming on for the full second half, but it wasn’t all positive for Bale. The match finished 2-2 in regular time and went to penalties, where Madrid would win 3-2. But Bale, who took the first spot kick for the Spanish side, saw his shot saved rather comfortably.