Real Madrid take on Paris Saint-Germain in the Champions League on Tuesday night as they look to defend a 3-1 aggregate lead in the French capital.
The Spanish giants and reigning European champions are in pole position to advance to the next round given their advantage, while the hosts are also without talismanic forward Neymar due to injury.
Nevertheless, with their La Liga title hopes looking bleak given the 15-point gap between them and leaders Barcelona, the Champions League is now their best shot at silverware this season.
In turn, Zinedine Zidane would arguably have been expected to go with his strongest possible line-up, with many likely to consider Gareth Bale part of that when fit.
The Welshman has scored 11 goals and provided seven assists in 26 games so far this season, while taking this game in isolation, his pace on the counter-attack could have been ideal with PSG pushing to get back into the tie given their deficit.
Despite all that, he’s been left on the bench by his coach, and that has led to the reaction from fans below who are fearing the worst for his future at the Bernabeu, while others are just simply unimpressed with the decision to leave him out.
Whether he comes off the bench to play a crucial role remains to be seen, as that will certainly silence the doubters. However, it is a blow to be snubbed on such a big occasion and he will no doubt be disappointed not to start the showdown.
The absence of Bale in the biggest game of the season. His career in Madrid is near an end
— . (@7eyhy) March 6, 2018
Zidane must really want Bale to leave.
— Jefferson (@Eeazzyj) March 6, 2018
Benzema over Bale as always, Zidane needs to stop making this shit
— Anna Elizabeth (@A_Elizabethml) March 6, 2018
Bale on bench when counter attack is so important 2n with his pace joke it is
— Kevin Wisely (@kevinwisely) March 6, 2018
No bale again I don’t know what’s there between zidane and bale but he doesn’t believe in bale
— jimin jams (@shivambtslover) March 6, 2018
No bale bad move again!!
— George Fitzpatrick (@gfitzpatrick124) March 6, 2018
Wow they never start Bale I swear Zidane might not like him but we gotta give BBC more play time
— ?Mateo?? (@Delimaster2K9) March 6, 2018