Zinedine Zidane hailed ‘special’ Gareth Bale after the Welshman marked his return with a goal as Real Madrid beat RCD Espanyol 2-0 in La Liga Santander.
Real Madrid had to toil hard on Saturday at Santiago Bernabeu in front of an eager home crowd. Alvaro Morata opened the scoring for Los Blancos in the first half and Gareth Bale, who replaced Morata in the second half, marked his return to action with a goal of his own to secure all three points.
Zinedine Zidane was visibly upbeat in the post-match conference as he touched on the result of the game while appreciating Gareth Bale’s return.
Zidane said,“ I’m happy to have him back. He was eager to get back playing again. When he came on, I told him to go out and enjoy himself, that was all I said. We’d discussed his position previously. He’s a key player and we’re all happy, especially the player himself. Gareth is Gareth. We’ve only got one Gareth Bale.”
“ He’s a special player, he’s different from the rest. It doesn’t look like he’s been out for three months. He’s very powerful, he makes the difference and that’s why he’s special.”
Real Madrid also made a new record after scoring for 42 consecutive games under Zinedine Zidane. The Frenchman though, was particularly appreciative of Isco, who was great in the game, as he chipped in with two assists.
“ He is happy and committed to what he’s doing. He has had a great game today and has given the two assists for the goals. I’m just thinking about what the team is doing right now.”
The victory means Real Madrid now are 3 points clear at the top of the La Liga Santander table after playing 2 fewer games than second-placed Sevilla. Los Blancos have managed to re-establish their winning streak, with 4 consecutive league wins after a disappointing 2-1 loss to Sevilla.
Espanyol, who are inside the top half of the table, could slip a place down to 10th if Celta Vigo manage to defeat Osasuna on Sunday. But, overall, Quique Sanchez Flores would be disappointed at the lack of opportunities created by his side on Saturday despite a resilient defensive effort.
The focus now shifts to the Mestalla as Real Madrid are away to Valencia in the mid-week in La Liga Santander aiming to keep their run going.