Bale dropped from Real Madrid squad as Zidane edges him towards the exits

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The Wales international, along with 2018 Ballon d'Or winner Luka Modric, will not be involved for the Blancos in a La Liga meeting with Villarreall,

Gareth Bale has edged a step closer to the exits at Real Madrid after being left out of their squad for a La Liga fixture against Villarreal.

The Wales international will not form part of Zinedine Zidane’s plans on Sunday.

The Blancos have named their matchday party for an outing at Santiago Bernabeu, and Bale is not included.

He is not the only notable absentee, but his latest snub is considered to be another indication that his days in the Spanish capital are numbered.

Speculation regarding his future has raged for some time.

Bale’s agent has sought to quash the exit rumours at regular intervals, but they continue to build heading towards the summer.

To be overlooked entirely when fit is the clearest indication yet that the 29-year-old does not figure in Zidane’s future project.

Madrid are expected to overhaul an underperforming squad this summer, with it increasingly likely that Bale will be among those offloaded to make room for new recruits.

Zidane has offered non-committal responses over recent weeks when quizzed on Bale’s future.

He has continued to use the Welshman, often from the bench, but has stopped short of offering his backing to a man who has drawn whistles from the Bernabeu crowd.

It may be that a buyer is now sought for a forward who has spent six productive seasons in Madrid.

Bale is, however, not the only player to have been culled by Zidane in his latest selection.

Luka Modric, who saw his efforts in 2018 allow him to break Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo’s duopoly of the Ballon d’Or, is also missing.

Dani Ceballos is another to have been unceremoniously dropped from a squad seeking to end a forgettable campaign with a flourish.

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Sergio Ramos, Karim Benzema and Alvaro Odriozola are also missing, but they are nursing knocks and taking in enforced breaks from first team duty.

Madrid are set to play host to Villarreal on Sunday sat third in the Liga table, 18 points adrift of champions Barcelona.

They have taken only one win from their last four games, and two from their previous six.