Gareth Bale gearing up for potentially his final match with Real Madrid

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Gareth Bale returns to the Real Madrid fold for Sunday’s season finale against Real Betis but Zinedine Zidane admits he does not know if it will be the Welshman’s final game for the club.

Bale has been absent since last month’s defeat to local rivals Rayo Vallecano but coach Zidane has confirmed the 29-year-old will be back in the squad for the visit of Betis.

With speculation rife that Bale’s six-year stay in Spain could be about to end, the match may well be the last time he is seen in Madrid colours.

Zidane refused to speculate about what the summer might hold for the club’s record signing, though, saying: “He’ll be part of the squad tomorrow and that’s all I can tell you.

“You’ll see the team that we put out. I don’t know whether this will be his last game.

“We’re at the end of the season and next year there’ll be changes, but I don’t know whether this will be his last game or not”.

Bale is not the only Madrid player whose future is uncertain as the Spanish giants lick their wounds after a campaign which, aside from winning the FIFA Club World Cup in December, has been a huge disappointment.

The likes of Keylor Navas, Toni Kroos and Isco have been linked with moves away as Madrid look to regroup after failing to mount a genuine La Liga title challenge or reach either the Champions League or Copa del Rey finals.

The 13-time European champions have already lost 11 times in La Liga this season – their worst record this millennium – and are certain to finish third, well behind arch-rivals Barcelona and Atletico Madrid.


It has been a tough time for a club used to winning silverware and Zidane, who became the team’s third coach of the season when he returned to the helm in March, is now hoping his side can at least finish on a positive note.

The Frenchman told his pre-match press conference as reported by the Spanish media: “We want to sign off with a good performance and a win in front of our fans.

“They always win a lot of things here, and it’s very difficult when you’re not playing for anything, but we want to have a good game against a good Betis side who will also want to finish the season well.”

Betis travel to the capital knowing a victory would guarantee them at least 10th place in the table.


They claimed a 1-0 win on their last to visit to the Bernabeu, Antonio Sanabria netting a dramatic late winner in September 2017, and coach Quique Setien is hoping for something similar this weekend.

He said on his club’s website: “It’s a very important game for us because it could allow us to gain a place in the table and leave a good memory at the end of the season at such a difficult stadium.”

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Thibaut Courtois asks for continued support from Real Madrid fans after tricky season

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Thibaut Courtois

The reality of Thibaut Courtois‘ dream move to Real Madrid has not quite been so serene but the Belgian goalkeeper insists he is enjoying his time at the club.

The 27-year-old has endured a tricky campaign since his summer move from Chelsea and was even dropped when Zinedine Zidane returned to the club in March.

However, Courtois has regained his spot over the popular Keylor Navas in recent fixtures with news from Madrid also confirming the Costa Rican stopper will depart over the summer.

That leaves Courtois as the undisputed No1 at the Bernabeu and despite a tough season both for player and club, the Belgium international says he is thriving under the pressure.

“It would be good to give one last joy to the fans, go on vacation with a victory and finish the year well to prepare the next season,” Courtois said in an interview with Codere [h/t Goal.com].

“We are training with a lot of enthusiasm because we know it was not the best season, but we are improving, we are training very hard to prepare for the next season and we are looking forward to finishing well.

Keylor Navas

Keylor Navas

“It’s very nice, it’s a dream to be able to play in a big stadium, when I’m in the goal and I see the Bernabeu from there it’s very beautiful.

“It gives more adrenaline, more desire to play well, it’s pressure too but I like to play like that.

“To the fans I ask you to continue supporting us, we know that this year was not the best but the following year we will go for all of them [trophies] again.”

Los Blancos will finish third in La Liga this term and close out their campaign by hosting Real Betis on Sunday.

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Keylor Navas set to leave Real Madrid as Thibaut Courtois gets starting spot

Sport360 staff 14/05/2019
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A healthy competition, insists Thibaut Courtois

Real Madrid have told Keylor Navas that Thibaut Courtois will be the first-choice keeper next season, according to Goal.

Over the years, Navas has established himself as Zinedine Zidane’s favourite. He even regained his role as a starter when the Frenchman returned to the club two months ago.

Courtois was signed last summer because of a reduced transfer fee which was a result of the custodian entering the last season of his contract with Chelsea.

Although it looked like Zidane’s return would work in Navas’ favour and help extend his stay at the club, Madrid have decided to go with the original plan of fielding Courtois between the sticks as a long-term first-choice keeper.

The Costa Rican at Madrid has won three Champions Leagues, one La Liga title, three European Super Cups, four Club World Cups and one Spanish Super Cup.

After five trophy-laden seasons with Los Blancos, Navas will take his position between the sticks for one final time against Real Betis next week.

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