PSG game a test of Zidane’s faith in Bale
MADRID- Agence France-Presse
Adrift in La Liga and out of the cups, success for Real in 2017-18 now depends entirely on its exploits in Europe. Zinedine Zidane’s future as coach may also be tied to the team lifting the trophy in May.
It leaves the Frenchman with no room for error at the Parc des Princes, where an absence of Bale would represent the surest indication yet of a lack of trust when it matters most.
Bale could hardly have done more in March 3’s 3-1 win over Getafe.
He opened the scoring, his eighth goal in 13 league starts this season, and would have finished with two but for a bending shot nicking the outside of the post. In the final rehearsal before PSG, he was brave, bold and industrious.
It is no coincidence that this improved performance came after Zidane deployed the Welshman in his more natural position of advanced midfield, rather than the lone striker role he was mysteriously presented with in last week’s dreary defeat to Espanyol.
As the spots of Cristiano Ronaldo and the Portugese’s chief provider Karim Benzema are now assured up front, playing Bale deeper carries too high a risk.
The counter argument might go that a confident Bale, enjoying the faith of his coach and his favored position, is one of the deadliest attackers in world, and the one Real paid a record 100 million euros to sign from Tottenham in 2013.
The 28-year-old has scored 62 goals in 117 La Liga appearances, which on March 3 took him past David Beckham as the division’s most capped British player.
In 21 games this season, he has registered 10 goals and three assists. Perhaps most importantly, he has played in nine consecutive Real matches for the first time since April 2015.