Zinedine Zidane maintains that Gareth Bale is “a very important” player for Real Madrid, despite the Welshman failing to start either game against Paris Saint-Germain.
Bale came on as a second-half substitute in last night’s 2-1 win, which handed Real a 5-2 aggregate victory over PSG.
Bale, 28, was also a sub, replacing Karim Benzema in the first leg at the Bernabeu and speculation about his future has been rife.
Don Balon claimed this week that Bayern Munich were emerging as the leading candidates for his signature. Meanwhile, Mundo Deportivo last month claimed both Bale and Karim Benzema know they will be sold in the summer as Zidane tries to rebuild his Los Blancos squad.
Manchester United have again been linked with Bale after failing to land the Wales star last summer, but Zidane las night insisted he remains part of his plans.
“I respect all the players, including Gareth Bale. He wasn’t a starter in either leg, but he’s a very important player who causes lots of trouble to the opposition. We have to stay united, as we were tonight,” said Zidane.
Second-half goals from Cristiano Ronaldo and Casemiro secured a quarter-final berth with Real chasing a third straight Champions League crown.
Zidane told the post-match press conference: “We’ve had difficult moments in the Liga and Copa del Rey, but it’s always difficult to maintain the same level while playing every three days.
“You can’t always win everything, but we’re winning now in the Liga and we have to look ahead to our game with Eibar on Saturday.
“Paris were perhaps not as good, but that’s maybe because we played well. After the sending-off and the second goal, it got more difficult for them.”