Agent: Playing paramount to Bale

Gareth Bale’s agent is planning talks with Real Madrid to determine whether the Welsh star features in new head coach Julen Lopetegui’s plans.

The 28-year-old winger made just 20 La Liga starts under former manager Zinedine Zidane last season, although injury kept him on the sidelines for much of the first half of 2017/18.

However, Bale made a huge impact for Los Blancos in the UEFA Champions League final last month, when he came off the bench to score a match-winning brace against Liverpool as the Spanish giants secured a record third straight title.

Zidane resigned from his post just a few days after the remarkable feat, and Real have since appointed Lopetegui as the Frenchman’s successor.

Jonathan Barnett has indicated that his client needs to be involved far more under the Spaniard, who risks losing Bale if no assurances are given ahead of the new campaign.

“I think we have to have a chat with Real Madrid and see where we’re going,” Barnett told Sky Sports News.

“He wants a better year than he had last year. He wants to play more, and that’s paramount to him.

“I think he’s one of the top three or four players on Earth. For somebody like him, he has to play.

“It’s not about money. He wants to win the Ballon d’Or and I think he can.”

Despite admitting that Bale enjoys life in the Spanish capital, Barnett stated that regular game time is more important to the Wales international.

“I think that goal elevated an interest in him. But we already knew how good he is,” the agent added.

“He doesn’t need to prove how good he is. It was a magnificent goal and the timing was great too.

“He loves his life in Spain. He has three children, and he’s very happy there. But we have to see. He has to play football.”