The Sports Bay


Zidane Wants Benzema, Bale Stay

Real Madrid manager Zinedine Zidane has insisted that Gareth Bale and Karim Benzema will stay at the club this summer despite speculation over their futures.

Both players were notable omissions from Madrid’s starting lineup for the first leg of their Champions League semi-final with Bayern Munich last week, raising questions over whether either had a long-term future under Zidane.

Bale has started just 21 games across all competitions this season, while Benzema has managed just five goals in 28 La Liga appearances, but Zidane stressed the importance of both players to his plans.

“We need them and I’ll do everything possible so that they’re not affected by what’s been said outside. They’ll stay with us,” Zidane told reporters.

“I know all our players want to play, but it isn’t possible. The message is for everyone, not just Bale and Benzema, that we’re sticking together because there’s a month left of the season and we have it all to do.

“If any player isn’t 100%, he won’t be in the squad. Double or the Champions League? Everything has value, I can’t choose one or the other, but what we can win is the Champions League and we’re going to give everything for it.”

Madrid will host Bayern Munich for the second leg of their semi-final on Tuesday before facing newly-crowned La Liga champions Barcelona in El Clasico on Sunday.

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