Real Madrid ace Gareth Bale has suggested that footballers 'are treated like robots' as he admits to the downsides of life as a footballer.
The Welsh forward has spent the past 13 years playing professionally, having started out at Southampton as a 16-year-old and since gone on to represent Tottenham Hotspur and Madrid.
Asked in an interview with BT Sport if he understood why retired players claim they get their lives back after retiring from football, the 29-year-old said: "Yeah, definitely. As a professional athlete, especially in a team environment, you don't get to choose your schedule, maybe like a golf or a tennis player.
"We're kind of just robots. We're told where to be, when to be there, what time we have to eat, what time we have to go to the coach.
"It's kind of like you lose your life in a way. You're kind of just told what to do. You don't get to choose what you want to do, when you want to do it. So yeah, I can completely understand why he said that.
"But on another point, I think a career in football's so short, sometimes you just have to sacrifice it. Some people think it's worth it and some people think it's not."
Bale reportedly intends to dig in his heels and stay at Madrid, even if he is frozen out by Zidane.