Zinedine Zidane has challenged Gareth Bale to “show just how good he is” ahead of Real Madrid’s upcoming La Liga clash with Real Valladolid.
Bale has suffered his fair share of ups and downs this summer and, at one point, seemed close to leaving Real for Chinese side Jiangsu Suning. In fact, Zidane infamously claimed it would be best for everybody if he left.
But the Spanish giants ultimately pulled out of a deal, which left Zidane with no other alternative other than to retain Bale.
The Wales star did, however, give the Frenchman some food for thought during last weekend’s trip to Celta Vigo. After assisting Karim Benzema’s opener, Bale delivered a superb display to help Real to a 3-1 opening day win in La Liga.
That performance in Balaidos appeared to have a positive impact on Zidane. He actually told reporters afterwards the former Tottenham star won’t be anywhere, and has now challenged him for a repeat.
“What has changed is that the player is going to stay, nothing more,” said Zidane, according to CNA.
“The important thing is the player wants to stay. It’s true that a lot was said about him, by me as well, but he is going to stay.
“He is a great player, he has shown that before and he has to show it again. He has to be the player we know that he is.”
Meanwhile, Zidane was also quizzed on James Rodriguez following his appearance on the bench at Celta.
Like Bale, the Colombia international was all set to leave Los Blancos amid interest from city rivals Atletico Madrid and Serie A giants Napoli. It appears, though, moves to either club have fallen through.
“We’re happy to have James back here at the club,” said Zidane.
“Let’s see how things progress going forward. He’s happy to be here. There are lots of games coming up and all the players are going to have a role to play.”
Although the 47-year-old refused to confirm if James would replace the suspended Luka Modric for Saturday’s home match against Valladolid.
The league fixture at the Santiago Bernabeu will begin at 19:00 (CET).