Bale and James to leave Madrid as part of 12-player exodus

Gareth Bale and James Rodriguez will be two high-profile departures from Real Madrid at the end of the season, according to reports in Spain.

AS claims Madrid are expected to have a 37-man squad at the end of the 2019-20 season, and have to bring that down to 25 for 2020-21. As a result, a number of fringe players will be pushed out of the club, while players due to return from loan spells will also be available.

Big names such as Bale and Rodriguez are however the priority for the Santiago Bernabeu management to deal with, and there is also the chance Luka Modric and Lucas Vazquez could leave as their contracts expire in 2021.

Strikers Mariano Diaz and Luka Jovic will both be available as well, the latter having only moved from Eintracht Frankfurt in summer 2019. Jovic has struggled to break into the Madrid side, and found himself on the wrong side of the club when he returned to Serbia and was unable to get back to Spain after the coronavirus lockdown.

Mariano, meanwhile, has been steadfast in his determination not to leave Madrid and it’s said that the club isn’t assuming he will change his stance this summer, even as coach Zinedine Zidane continues to prefer other options.

AS also note that Madrid stand to have four left-backs in their squad next season – Marcelo, Ferland Mendy, Achraf Hakimi and Sergio Reguilon, and are considered overbooked in that position. Hakimi and Reguilon are currently on loan at Borussia Dortmund and Sevilla respectively.

Other loan players scheduled to return, including Jesus Vallejo and Dani Ceballos, will have their long-term futures determined over the summer, while it’s accepted that Martin Odegaard could move on too.

Bale and James would nevertheless be the headline departures. The former arrived at Madrid from Tottenham Hotspur in 2013, and has made 249 appearances for the club, scoring 105 goals. The Wales international has won the Champions League four times with Los Blancos, as well as three Club World Cups and the 2016-17 La Liga title, among other trophies.

James, meanwhile, moved to Madrid from Monaco in 2014, shortly after starring at that year’s World Cup with Colombia. James ended the tournament as the top scorer, and has since made 124 appearances for Madrid, scoring 37 goals with a two-year loan spell at Bayern Munich between 2017 and 2019.

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