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It was only recently that Real coach Zinedine Zidane was declaring that Bale is happy in Spain but the Star says that in reality Real are ready to let the Welshman leave "due to a lack of form and another injury-plagued campaign".

Real host Athletic Bilbao on Wednesday and Bale will be hoping for another chance to state his case ahead of the first leg of their Champions League semi-final against Bayern Munich next week.

The former Tottenham forward nearly found the leveller, clipping a volley narrowly wide before Cristiano Ronaldo's instinctive backheel beat inspired Athletic goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga three minutes from time.

The fact that it was Bale's first action since being taken off at half-time against Juventus only further showed how concerning his situation appears to be for many, but Zidane said there was nothing to see.

These problems have caused Bale to lose his spot in the starting line-up to youngsters like Marco Asensio, Lucas Vazquez, and Isco. He did not start today, others did and are playing well too.

Speaking in an exclusive interview with Vanity Fair, Real Madrid striker Karim Benzema gave his latest set of thoughts on the Mathieu Valbuena sextape-blackmail affair that brought an end to his French national team career.

Asked what he would do to convince Deschamps to call him up to the France squad, Benzema said: "Me? Now?"

"What we must do is try not to watch or listen to what you [media] are saying, but just focus on the positives". I'm not going to change their opinion.

"He was very good but the defence was good too and you know I do not speak of the future".