Real Madrid manager Zinedine Zidane reserved praise for hat-trick hero Gareth Bale, with the Welshman making the perfect first impression on his new manager amidst increasing speculation of  a transfer back to the Premier League in the summer


Zinedine Zidane could not have asked for a better start to life as Real Madrid manager, with Los Blancos thrashing Deportivo de La Coruña 5-0 in front of an expectant Santiago Bernabéu on Saturday evening.

Gareth Bale — the player reportedly most disappointed with the exit of Rafael Benítez — scored a hat-trick,  while Karim Benzema grabbed a brace in what was a very comfortable evening for the hosts.

Zidane heaps praise on hat-trick hero Bale

Gareth Bale’s performance on Saturday was the perfect way to silence those questioning his place at Real Madrid under new boss Zinedine Zidane, while the Frenchman himself had words of praise for the former Tottenham Hotspur superstar, praising his defensive work-rate as well as his goals.

Zidane is quoted by Ten Sport as saying: “Gareth has to do the same as everyone else. When we don’t have the ball he has to defend, then when we have to he can open the game up and play on the wing.

“That is what he did today. I am happy with his contribution. It isn’t easy to score three goals and we hope he continues like that.”

Bale now has 10 goals in his last 7 matches in all competitions with the Madrid giants, and will be hoping to continue in a similar vein for the remainder of the season.

A good atmosphere at the Santiago Bernabéu was helpful

Even before Real Madrid had kicked a ball under Zidane, there appeared to be an air of optimism among supporters, and that was reflected in the support the team received on Saturday at the stadium.

Zidane expressed his gratitude to Real Madrid fans after the win, saying: “I thank the fans, but they come to see the players and I think today they have been rewarded with the effort the team showed and the victory.

“The fans were behind the team right until the end, there was a good atmosphere but we need to continue.

“We need to think that this is just the first game and see what happens in the next one. Our idea is to play good football and win as many matches as possible.”