Gareth Bale is set to end his Real Madrid career with a money-spinning move to China.
The 30-year-old Welshman’s acrimonious departure from the Bernabeu took another twist yesterday, with blistering criticism by his agent Jonathan Barnett of Real manager Zinedine Zidane.
Barnett branded Zidane a “disgrace” after the Frenchman bluntly revealed the Spanish giants were ready to offload Bale.
Barnett also conceded for the first time that Bale is set to leave Spain.
Sources have told Sportsmail that the likeliest destination for Bale is China.
It is understood the only clubs interested in matching Bale’s salary of £350 000 a week are in China’s Super League, but they would prefer not to pay a transfer fee.
It can also be disclosed that Barnett travelled to the Far East in June to negotiate a deal.
Bale, who is under contract at Real until 2022, is not wanted by Manchester United or Tottenham.
However, Chinese Super League club Shanghai Shenhua are willing to top Bale’s wages, and Jiangsu Suning and Beijing Guoan have also been linked.
Following a 3-1 friendly loss to Bayern Munich in Houston, Zidane made public that Bale had been dropped because the club were “working on his departure”, before sharply adding that he hoped it would happen soon “for everyone’s sake”.
Those comments did not go down well with Barnett.
“Zidane is a disgrace, he shows no respect for a player who has done so much for Real Madrid,” he said.
When asked if Bale was indeed close to leaving the Spanish capital, Barnett responded: “We are working on it. If and when Gareth does go, it will be because it is in his best interest, and not because of Zidane pushing.”
Bale has been dumped by Madrid despite playing a key role in a staggering four Champions League titles and a Spanish title following his arrival from Tottenham six years ago for a record £86 million.
On Saturday, Zidane gave 22 players a run-out, with 11 playing in the first half and another 11 in the second period against Bayern.
But Bale was left in the stands.
The coach confirmed afterwards that he had asked the club to sell the Welshman.
He said: “That’s the way things are. I am the coach, and I have spoken to the club. The decision is the coach’s.
“There comes a time when things are done because they need to be done.
“I haven’t got anything against him. The situation will change, and it’s for the best for everyone.”