Ryan Giggs defends Gareth Bale's 'Wales Golf Madrid' flag
Ryan Giggs has defended Gareth Bale after he upset Real Madrid fans by posing with a Wales flag which read: "Wales. Golf. Madrid. In that order."
Wales boss Giggs was asked about the controversial stunt, which occurred earlier this month inside Cardiff City Stadium after his team beat Hungary to book their spot at Euro 2020 and wildly celebrated with their fans.
Bale, who has long been linked with a move away from Real, was filmed laughing and celebrating with the flag and had already admitted he found chants of 'Wales. Golf. Madrid' from the stands during the match amusing.
The gesture was not well received in the Spanish media, with the majority of Real fans in a MARCA poll stating Bale showed "a lack of respect for the club and fans".
MARCA also said Real would not punish Bale, because the relationship between the player and Zidane is "broken for good", although his club team-mates seemingly saw the funny side of things.
Speaking on Saturday after Wales learned their Euro 2020 group stage fate, Giggs was asked about the flag incident and defended his player.
"I don't know if Gareth had anything to do with it, obviously he was stood there, but I think far too much has been made of it," he said.
"It was a special night for Gareth. He put in a shift in what was his second game in three days. He had not been playing, so that's down to his fitness and professionalism."
Bale has been criticised in Spain for his apparent priority for international football - and golf - over commitments to Real.
Giggs admitted that Bale's situation was "not ideal" and that he wanted his whole squad playing regular football.
"All my players I want playing, it's as simple as that, so when they come on camp you don't have to catch up with fitness," he added. "You don't have to worry about bringing them on or off after 60/70 minutes.
"Where they play doesn't matter to me. As long as they are playing at good clubs and obviously Gareth is at one of the biggest in the world.
"It's been the case at the last few camps that he's not played [at club level] but he's done brilliantly for us because of his ability, fitness and passion. He could do it, but it wasn't ideal.
"I want my players turning up match fit and that includes Gareth."