Zinedine Zidane has made a shock decision in recalling outcast Gareth Bale into Real Madrid’s line-up for their La Liga opener at Celta Vigo.
Bale’s future has been clouded in strong doubt ever since the moment Zidane returned to Real in March. The Frenchman quickly demoted him to a mere bench warmer last season and wanted to sell the player this summer.
At one point, it seemed Zidane had got his way as Bale closed in on a shock move to Chinese Super League club Jiangsu Suning. He even told reporters the winger’s exit would be a “good thing for everyone” before Real blocked the transfer.
But Eden Hazard’s thigh injury from training on Friday has forced a change of plans for Los Blancos. Therefore, Zidane has thrown Bale straight into the Real line-up for this evening’s game in Balaidos.
This new twist comes less than 24 hours after the 47-year-old announced he can count on the Wales star.
“I’m going to count on him, just like all the other players that are in the squad,” the Real manager told reporters on Friday.
“He has a contract, he’s an important player and I hope all the players want to make it difficult for me to pick the team.”
Elsewhere, James Rodriguez will be on the bench for the game with Celta after returning from a two-year loan spell at Bayern Munich.
Like Bale, the Colombian playmaker was all set to leave the Santiago Bernabeu this summer. Despite interest from Napoli and Atletico Madrid, it seems he may not be going anywhere after all.
Zidane even surprisingly declared himself “happy” and “glad” to have James back at Los Blancos.
Meanwhile, Vinicius Junior gets his first start under Zidane and Alvaro Odriozola will also have a chance to impress at right-back.
— Real Madrid C.F. 🇬🇧🇺🇸 (@realmadriden) August 17, 2019