In a statement that illustrates how large the divide is at the Bernabéu between president and manager, Real Madrid president Florentino Perez has hailed Gareth Bale’s influence at the club for the 2019-20 La Liga season.
The Welsh international has been heavily linked with a move away from the Spanish capital in recent weeks, with manager Zinedine Zidane simply not rating him. Zidane froze Bale out at the end of last season, excluding the winger from the squad altogether for two of the last three games and leaving him on the bench on the last day of the season as Madrid lost to Betis.
“If he leaves tomorrow, all the better,” Zidane had said in July as Bale looked close to a transfer to Chinese Super League club Jiangsu Suning, but that deal fell through and Bale is still here.
According to reports in Marca, Bale and Perez has spoken and the former Tottenham has stated his desire to remain in Madrid, and Perez has expressed his full confidence in the 30-year old to be a key player for Real Madrid this season.
With Hazard out for three to four weeks and Marco Asensio sidelined with a long-term injury, Zidane was forced to turn to Bale at Celta Viga on Saturday.
“He is important,” the Frenchman had said on Friday. “I hope he makes things difficult for me.”
And he was important. Bale is often at his best when he has a point to prove and it was his run into the area and low cross which put Madrid’s crucial opening goal on a plate for Karim Benzema.
The goal came from the left after he had switched flank – Bale and Vinicius Junior interchanged positions effectively and earned praise from Zidane for their defensive contribution after the game.
“I’m happy with his match,” the Frenchman said. “He and Vinicius did well and they defended well.”
Bale was full of running and showed he is in excellent shape with one sprint which saw him catch up with Celta defender Lucas Olaza and breeze past him in the first half.
Bale played 76 minutes in Real Madrid’s 3-1 weekend win at Celta Vigo, and was given a standing ovation by the visiting fans as he was substituted for Isco.