Zinedine Zidane guarded Gareth Bale and James Rodriguez after the two players left the Santiago Bernabeu before the finish of Real Madrid’s La Liga draw with Real Betis.
Zidane saw his Real side drop focuses for the fifth time in 11 league matches on Saturday as they botched an opportunity to move two points clear at the highest point of the table after Barcelona lost 3-1 to Levante.
The French coach insisted Bale, who was not part of the matchday squad for the 0-0 draw, had not demonstrated an absence of responsibility with his choice to leave the ground – something he has done before this season.
Zidane has recently insisted Bale has consent to do as such, while his exit didn’t struggle with club strategy, which denies players from leaving the arena before the 80th moment if in participation.
“I don’t think it’s a lack of respect at all. Both players were here before the game to cheer on their team-mates, that’s the most important thing,” Zidane said.
Bale has not featured for Real since sustaining an injury in Wales’ 1-1 draw with Croatia on October 13.
The 30-year-old was seen last month in London, leading to several reports that he was holding transfer talks with his agent Jonathan Barnett about a potential move to China but Zidane said the player had been permitted for “personal reasons”.
Bale was close to securing a move to Chinese club Jiangsu Suning during the summer transfer window in a deal that would have seen the 30-year-old earn £1m-a-week.