sport news PETE JENSON: Gareth Bale is nearing a year without a goal at the Bernabeu

As 's rollercoaster week came to an end at the Bernabeu on Sunday night the players gathered in the dressing room for the now habitual post-game team photo.

This one was extra-special because three players had commemorative shirts to mark passing career landmarks. Karim Benzema held a shirt with 500 on it to mark his 500th game for the club, Lucas Vazquez 200, and Isco, with his young son, 300.

Injured pair Eden Hazard and Marcos Asensio were there, as were Luka Jovic and Brahim Diaz despite having been dropped from the squad for El Clasico, and Rodrygo Goes, who was suspended. There was no sign of Gareth Bale.

Gareth Bale was again consigned to the bench for Real Madrid's Clasico win over Barcelona

Gareth Bale was again consigned to the bench for 's Clasico win over Barcelona

He is approaching a year without a goal at the Bernabeu and his place at Madrid under threat

He is approaching a year without a goal at the Bernabeu and his place at Madrid under threat

Zinedine Zidane brought Bale on against Manchester City and they conceded two away goals

Zinedine Zidane brought Bale on against Manchester City and they conceded two away goals

Having played no part in the win that put back in control of their LaLiga fate it seemed he was in no mood to share the celebratory mood sweeping the squad.

This month marks one year since his last goal at the Bernabeu. With Eden Hazard's first season at Madrid wrecked by injury and Asensio also sidelined long term since the start of the campaign, this could and should have been the year Bale became important again but so far it hasn't happened.

Arsene Wenger, speaking as a BeIN SPORTS pundit admitted he was as bemused as most as to why his compatriot Zinedine Zidane has not used Bale more.

Before El Clasico he said: 'Since he's been there I have seen him be decisive, scoring important goals in many big games. I don't know what happened there. There looks to be unrest in his head. He has the quality Madrid need. They have a lot of players who come to feet and he is one who can expose rivals with pace and his finishing and his aerial ability.'

For much of Sunday night's game were crying out for a powerful runner who could also finish reliably. Gerard Pique might have been exaggerating when he said it was the worst Madrid he had played against in the first half, but not by much.

Madrid had lined up with Isco, Benzema and Vinicius in attack and neither of them were really causing Barcelona too many problems in that first 45 minutes.

Bale was a notable absentee from the dressing room celebrations after the win over Barcelona

Bale was a notable absentee from the dressing room celebrations after the win over Barcelona 

Isco and Benzema both lack pace and although Vinicius is quick his final ball or shot is still wayward. Even Spanish radio Cadena Ser's excellent but pretty unreservedly anti-Bale commentary team were urging Zidane to throw Bale on in the second half and have him run at Jordi Alba who was just back from injury and struggling at left-back.

BALE STATS 19/20

Appearances: 18

Goals: 3

Assists: 2

Minutes per goal: 387 

Zidane never even sent him to warm up, however. Instead it was Luka Modric, Lucas and Mariano who began limbering up on the touchline. Zidane did the opposite of what he had done four days earlier against Manchester City when he replaced Vinicius with Bale in the second half.

And just as bringing Bale on did not have the desired affect against City, not bringing him on this time seemed to work. Vinicius made the most of being allowed to finish the game by opening the scoring with a shot aimed at the far post that took a deflection off of Pique and beat Marc-Andre ter Stegen at his near post.

And final substitution Mariano Diaz had such an impact that a joke heat-map, circulating on social media, of his two minutes game time, showed a red line of him running on across the pitch and then down the right wing to score. 

Bale was not responsible for Madrid's collapse against City. Both the goals scored by Pep Guardiola's side came on the other side of the pitch. But it had been 1-0 when he came on and within 10 minutes of his introduction the side were 2-1 behind.

Bale looks increasingly removed from the squad and was not in their celebratory team photo

Bale looks increasingly removed from the squad and was not in their celebratory team photo

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Despite the fact that he was unable to make an impact in midweek it was still felt he might be the man to hurt Barcelona. As Wenger had pointed out he can go beyond defenders while

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