Zidane takes Bale U-turn, says ready to count on Welshmen - GulfToday

Zidane takes Bale U-turn, says ready to count on Welshmen

Zidane takes Bale U-turn, says ready   to count   on Welshmen

Real Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane has vowed to treat Gareth Bale as any other member of the squad despite previously declaring his intention to sell the Wales forward.

Zinedine Zidane has admitted Gareth Bale is back in his plans ahead of Real Madrid’s opening La Liga game of the season against Celta Vigo on Saturday.

Eden Hazard sustained a thigh injury in training on Friday, meaning Bale could even start against Celta following a turbulent summer for the Welshman.

Zidane was keen for Bale to be sold but Madrid cancelled a deal with Chinese club Jiangsu Suning while the winger’s salary of around 18 million euros a year has proven too high for other interested clubs.

Bale is also eager to stay at Madrid, where he has a contract until 2022, and is not interested in moving to Paris Saint-Germain, despite suggestions he could be included in a bid for Neymar.

“It looked like he was leaving and now he’s here with us, that’s it,” Zidane said.

“The dynamic changes and things change and now I’m going to count on him like everyone else. I said it a short time ago, I’m going to count on all the players that are here.”

Zidane left Bale out of his squad for three consecutive pre-season friendlies but the 30-year-old returned for the last game against Roma, when he came off the bench in the second half.

The transfer window in Spain closes on Sept.2.

“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,” Zidane added.

Zidane had promised wholesale changes this summer and his first press conference of the season was dominated by questions about the transfer window.

He refused to be drawn on a move for Neymar, insisting: “Neymar is not a Real Madrid player. We are interested in the players that are here.”

And on the failed attempt to buy Paul Pogba from Manchester United, he said: “Paul is a player for Manchester United and we have to respect that. Here we are thinking about the game tomorrow.”

But Madrid’s failure to sign Pogba and sell either Bale or James Rodriguez means the club’s president Florentino Perez has perhaps not delivered the sort of changes Zidane had hoped for.

“It’s not about whether it’s positive or negative,” Zidane said. “I accept what I have. We’ve talked with the people that have to do those things and it is the games now that interest us.”

Zidane said James is fit and ready to be involved against Celta. “He is in shape and I’m glad to have him,” Zidane said.

Hazard will miss the start of the season after sustaining a thigh injury in training on Friday, the day before Real Madrid’s La Liga opener against Celta Vigo.

Hazard was ready to make his debut in Vigo after joining Madrid for an initial 100 million euros from Chelsea in June.

But the Belgian pulled up with a minor strain at the club’s training base in Valdebebas and is now expected to be out for three to four weeks.

“After tests carried out after training today on our player Eden Hazard by the Real Madrid Medical Services, he has been diagnosed with a muscular injury to the anterior part of his right thigh,” a club statement read. “His recovery will continue to be assessed.”

Madrid begin away at Celta on Saturday before facing Real Valladolid and a trip to Villarreal ahead of the international break.

Hazard could be in line to return for their match against Levante at the Santiago Bernabeu on Sept. 1.

Meanwhile, Atletico Madrid began the summer by losing six of their best players but are ending it with greater belief than ever they can beat Real and Barcelona to the La Liga title, thanks in part to the exhilarating form of new striker Joao Felix.

Diego Simeone was tasked with his biggest rebuild since taking charge in 2011 after an exodus that not only drained his team of talent, including star man Antoine Griezmann, but caused many to wonder if the team could ever be the same again.

They lost four defenders, with full-backs Filipe Luis and Juanfran going to Brazil with Flamengo and Sao Paulo, captain Diego Godin moving to Inter Milan, and young gem Lucas Hernandez snapped up by Bayern Munich.

They also lost their defensive midfielder Rodri to Manchester City after just a year at the club, while the spat between Atleti and Barca over Griezmann’s messy departure left a bad taste in the mouth.


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