Zinedine Zidane is expecting to “count” on Gareth Bale as Real Madrid begin their 2019/20 campaign without Eden Hazard.
The 30-year-old Welsh forward was expected to leave the Spanish capital this summer after Real boss Zidane revealed the powers that be were preparing a transfer.
However, nothing came to fruition and Bale’s expected move to Chinese Super League club Jiangsu Suning broke down leaving him in Madrid.
His wages plus injury record put off Europe’s other super clubs from approaching him and now with Hazard ruled out for several weeks following a hamstring injury sustained in training, Bale has all of a sudden been given a reprieve.
Los Blancos kick off their La Liga season away to Celta Vigo on Saturday with Bale, plus another outcast brought back from the cold in James Rodriguez, part of Zidane’s travelling squad and the three-time Champions League-winning manager has given way to professionalism.
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“It looked like he was leaving but now he is here and now I’m going to count on him, just like all the other players that are in the squad,” he told reporters.
“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.”
Bale’s trials and tribulations: Five key things to know…
- Bale joined Real Madrid in 2013 for a then-world record fee of £85m.
- He’s gone on to make 231 appearances, registering 102 goals and 56 assists.
- Bale played a pivotal role in the club winning four Champions Leagues.
- However, the Welshman fell out of manager Zidane’s good books with a move away from Madrid expected in the summer.
- An injury to Eden Hazard plus no buyers for Bale has seen brought back in from the cold.