Gareth Bale finished his goal drought with a strike that aided Real Madrid defeat Huesca on Sunday afternoon.
The Welsh winger finished 10 matches without a goal in La Liga but finished that a luxurious volley, silencing some of his critics who have named for him to lose his place in the beginning eleven.
The home team did have a great deal of chances to amount the game, but Gonzalo Melero squandered a opportunity with a header from a close range.
Bale saw a chipped hard work diverted just vast, whilst Juan Camilo Hernandez fired in excess of for the hosts as Santiago Solari’s team continued to hold on to their lead.
Belgian international Thibaut Courtois was compelled to save his goal on a number of occasions, tipping in excess of Moi Gomez’ hard work in stoppage time and Christian Rivera practically scored in the ultimate levels but he was denied.
Madrid sealed the win, finished Bale’s very poor form and they will now prepare to face Russian aspect CSKA Moscow in the Champions League on Wednesday night.
Victory for Santiago Solari’s team leaves them 5 points behind leaders Barcelona, who thrashed city rivals Espanyol 4- on Saturday.
Madrid do sit fourth on the other hand, behind rivals Atletico Madrid and Sevilla, who won and drew this weekend in league action, respectively.
Gareth Bale scored 2 times as Real Madrid warmed up for their Champions League clash in opposition to Juventus with a 3- win at struggling Las Palmas, whereby Cristiano Ronaldo was rested.
With a single eye on upcoming week’s European quarter-remaining 1st leg in Turin, Los Blancos coach Zinedine Zidane opted to depart in-kind frontman Ronaldo behind for the vacation to Gran Canaria.
Nonetheless, Real Madrid never looked in any real threat of not getting the position carried out as Bale fired them in the entrance on 26 minutes ahead of Karim Benzema converted a penalty and the Wales forward additional one more location-kick early in the second fifty percent.
The win moves Real Madrid to in just a point of second-put Atletico, who host relegation-threatened Deportivo La Coruna on Sunday.
There was also no place in the Real Madrid squad for midfielder Isco, who skipped out with a back again issue owning netted a hat-trick for Spain in opposition to Argentina, while captain Sergio Ramos was also not in good shape.
Las Palmas came into Saturday’s match some 7 points adrift of security and could have found by themselves a goal down early on, but Bale’s near-array hard work from Carlos Casemiro’s cross was dominated out for offside.
The home aspect then went near when Jonathan Calleri’s push strike the outside of the post ahead of Real Madrid goalkeeper Keylor Navas pushed away a small twenty-lawn yard work from Alen Halilovic.
The visitors, however, shortly commenced to get into their rhythm as Bale picked out Marco Asensio at the near post, but Leandro Chichizola generated a wonderful fingertip save.
Real swept into the guide on 26 minutes. The hosts have been caught out pressing a high defensive line as Luka Modric’s move sent Bale obvious down the remaining, and Wales forward charged into the penalty area ahead of lashing the ball into the significant corner.
Zidane was then compelled into earning a change when defender Fernandez Nacho hobbled off, to be changed by Achraf Hakimi.
Genuine doubled their lead on 38 minutes as a result of a penalty from Benzema.
Calleri needlessly went as a result of the back again of Lucas Vazquez, leaving the referee minor alternative but to point to the location.
Frenchman Benzema, on his 400th appearance for Los Blancos, drilled the ball into the base remaining corner.
It was now a scenario of hurt limitation for Las Palmas, who made a couple of variations for the start off of the second fifty percent.
Real Madrid, however, even further extended their guide on fifty-one minutes with one more penalty.
Defender Ximo Navarro was dominated to have caught Bale with a late tackle, and this time the Welshman obtained up to get the location-kick, which he clipped past Chichizola.
Benzema saw his near-array hard work saved ahead of at the other conclude Las Palmas substitute Erik Exposito fired more than immediately after Navas made a hash of his clearance in the area.
Calleri’s header dropped on to the leading of the crossbar, ahead of Bale was denied a hat-trick by a previous-ditch tackle from Javi Castellano.
Ryan Giggs speaks in Bale’s defence after China Cup final defeat
Wales Manager, Ryan Giggs has spoken in defence of super-star, Gareth Bale after the Real Madrid forward was criticized for his performance in Wales loss to Uruguay in the China Cup final. Bale has been one of the highlights of the four-team competition in Nanning, China but his contribution in the final was overshadowed by Edinson Cavani and Luis Suarez as they inspired Uruguay to a 1-0 win. Barcelona striker, Luis Suarez hit the post on two occasions before Cavani finally scored the winner in the 49th minute of the encounter. When questioned about Bale’s display, Giggs said: “The pitch had a big part to play in it as it wasn’t ideal for dribbling or sticking the pass in. “When Gareth gets the ball, of course, he is going to have players around him, they’re not just going to let him get it. “They recognize the quality he’s got and make it difficult for him. But I thought he (Bale) was a threat all night.” Wale thrashed host, China 6-0 in the semi-final, a game in which Bale became his Country’s highest goal scorer after netting a hat-trick. Both Andy King and Bale forced Uruguay’s goalkeeper to fine saves in the first half although they lost the momentum in the second half.
Giggs continued: “Of course, against teams like that you’re going to ride your luck but they showed us the utmost respect, we won’t play against much better teams than that in terms of experience and talent. It was a great learning curve for the players and a great test which I thought they stood up to. “What I want from my team is to go to the end and I thought we did. Suarez and Cavani were going to the end, and we were still in the game.
Real Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane has said he does not believe Gareth Bale’s continuing injury problems are psychological.
Zidane confirmed that muscle problems will again rule Bale out against Athletic Bilbao on Saturday, adding that he could not say when the Wales international winger would return.
Bale came back from two months on the sidelines in Tuesday’s Copa del Rey game at home to Fuenlabrada, but felt further pain in a calf muscle afterwards.
He has not trained with his teammates since amid reports of disagreements between the player and club medical staff about the exact problem.
Asked at Friday’s news conference whether Bale’s problems were psychological, Zidane said: “I don’t believe so.
“He has felt some pain, it is not much, and as he has been out for a long time it is difficult. I hope it is just a physical issue and that he just has a little problem and nothing more.
“I think he needs to train with the team, get into the team dynamic, and for me that is the most important. I hope he is back with us quickly.”
The coach suggested that Bale’s return date would be up to the player, saying: “He is very powerful and he needs to be right to play.
“He cannot feel pain. When this happens, we cannot take risks. Plus it is his calf muscle, like so many times before, and the doctors are looking for a solution to the problem.
“As I am a positive person, I do not think anything bad will happen. I have told Gareth that he will come through this.
“We will look after him until he feels well, as he is an important player and what he has done is phenomenal. It [his return] depends on him. I cannot give you a date. I hope it is next week. He is the first who wants to be with us.”
Club captain Sergio Ramos is set to return after a fortnight out with a broken nose, but attacker Marco Asensio remains sidelined with a thigh complaint.
“Sergio will be there,” Zidane said. “He is back with the group and feeling very good.”
Athletic have drawn two and lost three of their last five La Liga games and were knocked out of Copa del Rey by third tier Formentera, leading to pressure on coach Jose Angel Ziganda.
But Zidane said: “We expect a difficult game, we know this stadium, this team, but we are ready to play well.
“This has been a very good week. We are going there excited to play a good game.”
Athletic goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga is a reported Madrid target, but Zidane rejected the idea that he would rather have him in his team than Keylor Navas.
“I have the best here,” he said. “Keylor is the best. I will be with him, with Kiko [Casilla], with those I have here.
“Kepa is a good goalkeeper, but he is not my goalkeeper. Later, we will see what happens in the transfer market.”
Dermot Corrigan is a Madrid-based football writer who covers La Liga and the Spain national team for ESPN FC. Follow him on Twitter @dermotmcorrigan
Gareth Bale wasn’t supposed to be on a rescue mission. It was supposed to be enough for him to jog onto the Bernabeu pitch, run about a bit, kick the ball a few times and not get injured again. On Tuesday morning, the headline on the front page of sports newspaper Marca read: “They need you” but no one really thought they did. Not that night anyway; the future might be a different matter. And yet it turned out they did need him after all and, for Bale, it was better that way.
At quarter to 11 on a cold, wet night in the Copa del Rey round-of-32 second leg, Second Division B leaders Fuenlabrada led Madrid 1-0. Luis Milla — you may remember him — had smashed a shot that went in off Keylor Navas and the bar to open the scoring. Two questionable penalties had handed Madrid a 2-0 win at the Fernando Torres stadium five long weeks before, seemingly ending the tie as a contest, but now it was revived and another Fuenlabrada goal would take the game to extra time.
Increasingly, that looked plausible. It wasn’t just the score; it was the sensations. This wasn’t some fluke; this was football. Tuesday’s game started with Hugo Fraile shooting over and it didn’t end there: Fuenlabrada had control and chances. On the touchline, manager Antonio Calderón was ready to make a change and Dioni Villalba, one of five regulars that had started on the bench, was standing there. Nicknamed “Bisho” — “the beast” — one opposition manager had described him as the Lionel Messi of Segunda B. Now he was coming on and Fuenlabrada were going for it. “We made Madrid a little scared,” Calderón said later.
But as Dioni waited, to his left stood Bale. Against Borussia Dortmund on Sept. 27, he sat on the turf, holding his calf. “It was nothing,” Zinedine Zidane said afterwards, just a bit of cramp. But it took 63 days for the Welshman to return. Bale had been on the verge of making a comeback for the Madrid derby on Nov. 18, with his manager expressing satisfaction that he could spend the whole of the international break working together with Bale, Karim Benzema and Cristiano Ronaldo.
“We won’t hold back; the idea is to push him, have him back as soon as possible,” Zidane had said. But two days later, Bale pulled up again, muscle torn. It was his 19th injury since joining Madrid as the world’s most expensive player in 2014. He had played 159 games for the clubs out of a possible 250. Over the last two seasons he has played just 41 percent of the available minutes.
And so here he was, back again, for a tentative, supposedly gentle return. A couple of days earlier Bale’s agent Jonathan Barnett hit out at Spanish journalists, saying they “write rubbish” and fail to base articles on “football reasons,” adding it “hurt” Bale that fans didn’t always support him the way that they supported other players. There have been whistles at times, it is true. But, as he stood, ready to come on vs. Fuenlabrada, there was a roar and applause. They needed him.
Cata Díaz hit the bar, the away side’s second goal millimetres away. Next thing you knew, the ball came to Bale on the right. He took one touch, two, three, and then curled a gorgeous pass with the outside of his foot towards Borja Mayoral. His header, like Cata’s, hit the bar; unlike Cata’s it rebounded in, not out. The pass was just the start. Soon, the ball dropped near the edge of the penalty area; Bale flicked it forward with his heel and ran onto it. Pol Freixanet saved the shot but, from the rebound, Mayoral scored again.
Although a goal from Bale was ruled out for offside and Fuenlabrada got a late equaliser which, if they didn’t deserve it, was only because they deserved more, Madrid were through. In seven minutes and six touches Bale had changed everything. “The only good news was Bale,” ran the headline of El Mundo. The front of Madrid’s two big sports dailies said essentially the same thing: “Bale avoids a disaster,” was the Marca verdict; “Bale avoids a Fuenlabradazo,” AS said.
At the final whistle, he shook hands with Juan Barrasa Quero and was the first down the tunnel, where he greeted other Fuenlabrada players and staff. He didn’t talk to the media but did tweet: “Really enjoyed being back out there and even better to be in the next round.” The latter should never have been in doubt but it was, until he arrived.
Bale needed the minutes, but that was supposed to be all he needed; just another step towards a full recovery. Yet watching the reaction, maybe he also needed a night like this. More to the point, maybe there are people he needed to see him have a night like this; people he needed to need him.
Few doubt that Bale is immensely talented, an extraordinary athlete and decisive on his day. His Copa del Rey final goal in 2014 remains in the memory and many Madrid fans will tell you that he was their best player in the Champions League final in Milan two years later. They know that, in four years with him, they have won three European Cups — Madrid had won none in the previous twelve years — and recall the way he took responsibility in the absence of Cristiano Ronaldo. His contract renewal last year was seen as a step towards his succession and a future Balon d’Or. No one questioned it then, or almost no one.
But that feels like another time, perhaps something that had slipped away for good. Some doubted Bale’s suitability within a more technical, patient style, or how well he fitted a right-sided role and, still less, the No. 10 position he coveted. There have been complaints about how little Spanish he spoke — even on Tuesday, one radio presenter asked Borja how he and Bale communicate — and that was often taken as a lack of commitment, as if it was easy. Bale insists he has tried; language just isn’t his thing.
Above all, though, there were the injuries. There is no escaping a basic truth: Bale has missed an awful lot of games. Too many, particularly for a player who cost so much. Some necessity to get on with things in his absence, to effectively ignore him, is normal; frustration is also natural, as is fatalism, a willingness to give up on him. But there’s a touch of cruelty in the way that new setbacks were greeted as if they were somehow Bale’s fault. Rather than compassion there was irritation, even suspicion.
Last year Bale admitted that he came back too soon from an injury that saw ligament came clean away from his ankle. He was desperate to make it to the Champions League final in his home city of Cardiff and he rushed. He took pain killers regularly and admitted thinking “other things.” The choice of words was vague and he denied that they meant giving up, but admitted he had suffered. No one really sees the rehabilitation, the work, the pain.
For fans to give up is human, as is feeling like a player can’t be relied upon and especially when there are others who can be. When Bale was out last year, Madrid found a solution and a system that arguably improved them. They also “discovered” Isco. In the final months of the season, Madrid were superb and Toni Kroos admitted that he was happier with an extra man in midfield. There was more control, more possession. Bayern, Atlético Madrid and Juventus were beaten as Madrid won a league and European Cup double for the first time in 59 years.
Maybe they didn’t need Bale. AS started writing “BBC” as “bbC” in news pieces, not just opinion columns because, they said, Benzema and Bale simply weren’t up to Cristiano. There was support for the Welshman from president Florentino Perez but it is also true the club opened the door to his departure in the summer, just a fraction. They tested the water, wondering what would happen.
When Madrid failed to sign Kylian Mbappé, in part because they were not able to make a space for him by moving one of the front three, it became another thing that was Bale’s “fault.” Watching Mbappé play for Paris Saint-Germain, some supporters and media wondered if this was a big mistake; some revelled in suggesting so. “Always injured” became an inescapable phrase. Some had given up and last season had shown that they might not need him anymore.
But context is everything: When results go against a team, sometimes the best thing for a player is to be absent. Since winning in Dortmund, Madrid’s season has slipped and his importance has appeared to increase, just as it decreased last season, without him actually doing anything. They started to remember him once more; started to miss him again.
The fact that he came back and did what he did on Tuesday was reinforcement, making it a better return than he could have imagined. Even if it was only against Fuenlabrada, it was timely reminder of what he can do, that he is a Real Madrid player and an exceptional one. One they need: A solution, not a problem.
Sid Lowe is a Spain-based columnist and journalist who writes for ESPN FC, the Guardian, FourFourTwo and World Soccer. Follow him on Twitter at @sidlowe.
Real Madrid star Gareth Bale is a doubt for Saturday’s La Liga trip to Athletic Bilbao after the Wales international sat out training the morning after his impressive return from injury as a substitute in Tuesday’s 2-2 Copa del Rey draw at home to Fuenlabrada.
The €100m galactico Bale had been out since late September due to the latest of a long series of muscle problems, but sprang from the bench with half an hour to play on Tuesday at the Bernabeu and set up two crucial goals which helped Zinedine Zidane’s side secure progress past the third tier outfit to the Copa’s last 16.
But later in the day there were further concerns as the 28-year-old did not take part in training with Zidane’s squad. And reports emerged claiming the club’s plan had always been to ease him gradually back into action due to his past injury record, hence the chance he may not make Saturday’s game at San Mames.
“The squad completed the second session of the week at Real Madrid City and began preparing for the league match against Athletic, which will be played this Saturday at San Mames (8:45pm CET),” the statement said. “Lucas Vazquez, who on Monday trained inside the facilities, worked with the group. The players who started against Fuenlabrada trained at lower intensity. Luca and Asensio continue with their recovery processes, while Bale worked inside the facilities.”
Dermot Corrigan is a Madrid-based football writer who covers La Liga and the Spain national team for ESPN FC. Follow him on Twitter @dermotmcorrigan