Gareth Bale seemed destined for spending at least the next six months training on his own at Real Madrid, but his fortunes took a positive return after the weekend. On Friday, Zinedine Zidane confirmed that the Welsh winger will remain at the Santiago Bernabeu this season. Bale rewarded the faith shown by the Frenchman by coming up with a masterful performance in the 3-1 victory over Celta de Vigo on Saturday.
Bale was responsible for creating the opening goal scored by Karim Benzema, while he was able to break constant havoc to Celta de Vigo’s defensive line with his creativity and pace. Even though the Welshman did not get on the scoresheet, he was one of the best players on the pitch.
His return to the starting line-up comes at a time when Real Madrid will be without Eden Hazard at least for the next three weeks due to an injury. The star summer signing has picked up this injury just at the start of the season.
Only a few weeks ago, Bale was extremely close to securing a move to Chinese football – something that would have brought his stellar career at the top level to an end – with Jiangsu Suning showing a lot of interest. The 30-year-old would also have become the best-paid player in the world after reportedly agreeing a contract worth £1 million per week. The potential transfer came about just a few days after Zidane openly admitted that it would be best for Madrid if Bale left the club as soon as possible. Yet, the move was called off in the final minute and Florentino Perez is believed to have had a huge influence.
The clash between Zidane and Perez over Bale has been happening behind the scenes so much so that the Frenchman has even threatened to quit Real Madrid for a second time. The presence of Bale in the squad coupled with Madrid’s inability to make any inroads over the signing of Paul Pogba has not been giving Zidane a lot of peace ahead of the new season. The pre-season was a disaster but the Celta de Vigo victory came at a time when it seemed that the club were in danger of the 18-19 campaign repeating.
The manner of the victory coupled with Barcelona losing three points in the opening game has given a huge positive lead for Madrid even at this budding stage of the campaign. Bale appears to be the biggest name to profit from the weekend, as he was able to extract words of praise from Zidane and most of the squad.
Bale has been criticised for his inability to get a grasp of the Spanish language – despite being at Madrid since 2013 – but few can doubt his ability on the pitch. The absence of Hazard is a crucial factor for Bale over the next three weeks, and he can certainly use the absence of the Belgian international as a way to force himself back into the first-team reckoning on a regular basis.