Real Madrid players celebrate a goal

In a strange turn of events, Wales forward Gareth Bale was left out of Real Madrid’s 24-man squad ahead of Friday’s game against Manchester City at the Etihad Stadium, whereas captain Sergio Ramos was included in the side, despite the fact that he is under suspension for the second leg.

Speaking about Bale’s omission from the 24-man squad, Real Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane said, “It was a personal conversation I had with him. He preferred not to play.”

He added, “The rest remains between me and him but he said he didn’t want to play.”

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The 31-year old Welshman turned out a star performer for the team when he scored twice in the team’s 3-1 win over Liverpool, in the Champions League final two seasons ago. But now he has played just twice since the resumption of football in June.

Bale decided against traveling to Manchester as he knew he had little chances of being involved in Madrid’s seek to overturn a 2-1 first-leg deficit against Manchester City on Friday.

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City won the first-leg in Spain by 2-1 in February before the competition was put on hold for almost five months, due to the coronavirus outbreak.

The winners of the tie will face off against Lyon or Juventus in the quarter-finals.

The match starts at 12:30 am on Aug 8, 2020, and can be viewed on SONY TEN network.

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