"If I had a fourth substitute today I would not have brought Bale", Zinedine Zidane reveals during Real Betis defeat

Loren Morón and Jesé teamed up to hand Real Betis a famous victory at the Bernabeu as Real Madrid’s disappointing season ended with a whimpe...

Loren Morón and Jesé teamed up to hand Real Betis a famous victory at the Bernabeu as Real Madrid’s disappointing season ended with a whimper.

It was a deserved 2-0 win for the visitors on a day when Gareth Bale did not make it off the bench amid continuing speculation that he could be one of the casualties of a major overhaul by Zinedine Zidane this summer.


Zidane, who returned to the Bernabeu to replace Santiago Solari in March, pulled no punches in his assessment of the campaign, with the Bale issue a key topic.

The Wales international has found himself at the centre of increased speculation over his future in recent weeks, and his displeasure with the situation was clear as headed straight down the tunnel instead of joining his teammates for an end-of-season lap of honour after he was left sitting on the bench.

Zidane’s men, who started the day 18 points adrift of champions Barcelona and eight behind derby rivals Atlético Madrid, were ultimately well beaten as their La Liga campaign drew to a close with a third defeat in four games.

Madrid started in positive mood with Vinícius Júnior very nearly catching keeper Pau López in possession early on as he gave the home fans early encouragement before Keylor Navas had to tip over defender Marc Bartra’s swerving 28th-minute drive as play switched rapidly from end to end.

Karim Benzema passed up a glorious opportunity to fire Madrid ahead when he latched on to Francisco Guerrero’s ill-judged 33rd-minute pass, only to hit the post with Pau saving Federico Valverde’s well-struck follow-up.

However, Navas’s fingertips came to the rescue at the other end seconds later after Giovani Lo Celso had attempted to lob him and the first half finished goalless.

After half-time, Vinícius was denied by Pau at his near post after turning brilliantly past Aissa Mandi into space with 57 minutes gone, and it was the visitors who took the lead within four minutes when Andres Guardado found space on the left and his cross was perfectly weighted for Loren to fire home.

Navas had to save acrobatically again from Lo Celso, who later curled a shot just wide of the far post with the keeper beaten as Betis looked to increase their advantage.

They did just that with 15 minutes remaining when substitute Jesé – who came through the academy at Real Madrid – was left unmarked in the box to latch on to Junior Firpo’s pull-back and smashed the ball into the roof of the net.

Lionel Messi struck twice for Barcelona as the title-winners were held to a 2-2 draw at Eibar in their final league game of the season.

Eibar took the lead through Marc Cucurella, before Messi fired back with two goals in two minutes to put Barcelona ahead.

In a game with plenty of chances, Eibar equalised on the stroke of half-time as Pablo de Blasis’s incredible volley ensured the points were shared.

Barcelona will look to end their season on a high in the Copa del Rey final against Valencia next Saturday as they attempt to complete the domestic double.

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