Zinedine Zidane insists Gareth Bale was given permission by Real Madrid to travel to London on Monday and claims the Welshman never talks about leaving the club.
Bale has not played since injuring his calf during a game for Wales on October 13 and his trip to England has prompted speculation he will seek an exit from Madrid in January. But Zidane insists Bale had permission to be absent on Monday and Tuesday morning and that he is not aware the 30-year-old wants to be sold.
"It was a personal issue and he had permission yesterday to go," Zidane said in a press conference on Tuesday.
"It was a personal issue and he went, that's it, no story. He also went because he's not available to play.
"But I don't think he ever speaks about leaving. When he is available he plays, that's all there is to it."
Bale came close to a move to Chinese club Jiangsu Suning last summer after Zidane said it would be "best for everyone" if he left Real Madrid. But the deal fell through at the last minute due to a disagreement over the transfer fee and Zidane is not expecting any fresh offers in January.
"I don't think there will be an offer and I haven't thought about it either. Gareth is a Real Madrid player," said Zidane.
"What happened in the summer was the situation at the time and in the end, Gareth stayed and all the better for everyone.
"It's true what was said didn't help but for me, the result is the most important thing. He's an important player and it's important he plays and he plays well.
"If in January he says he'll stay, there will be talks about the transfer window in the summer. Unfortunately, people will always speak about these things but he's here and everyone is happy he's here."
Zidane claimed he has a "good relationship" with Bale but sources have told AFP the forward remains on bad terms with the Frenchman. Bale was particularly unimpressed by his omission from Madrid's squad to face Club Brugge in the Champions League earlier this month. After the match, Zidane put his absence down to a fitness issue but those close to Bale insist he was fully fit.
"I spoke to him and I spoke to James (Rodriguez). Both of them weren't available to play against Brugge and they didn't play," said Zidane. "There's nothing else to say about that."
Bale will miss Madrid's La Liga game at home to Leganes on Wednesday, along with Nacho, who has a knee problem, and Marco Asensio, who is recovering from an anterior cruciate ligament injury. James Rodriguez is also unlikely to be involved as he missed training on Tuesday due to the birth of his child.
Real Madrid are sixth in the table but only two points off the top, with a game in hand.
Featured image courtesy: AFP / Gabriel Bouys