X

Zinedine Zidane Talks Isco, Gareth Bale Ahead of Real Madrid vs. Celta Vigo

Christopher Simpson@@CJSimpsonBRFeatured ColumnistMarch 15, 2019

Real Madrid's French coach Zinedine Zidane holds a press conference at the Valdebebas training facilities in Madrid on March 15, 2019. (Photo by GABRIEL BOUYS / AFP)        (Photo credit should read GABRIEL BOUYS/AFP/Getty Images)
GABRIEL BOUYS/Getty Images

Zinedine Zidane said he is willing to turn to Isco and Gareth Bale during the final matches of the season ahead of Real Madrid's match with Celta Vigo on Saturday. 

Real Madrid C.F. 🇬🇧🇺🇸 @realmadriden

📝 Our 19-man squad for the #RMLiga match against @RCCelta! https://t.co/KXhScgktTr

Zidane spoke in his first pre-match press conference since returning as Real manager on Monday.

Per ESPN's Dermot Corrigan, he indicated Isco will be given a chance after playing just 16 times under his predecessor Santiago Solari:

Dermot Corrigan @dermotmcorrigan

Zidane: "The players, inc those who have played less, are committed, which is most important. Then it is true that a game is not like training. The important thing is to all be ready, we have 11 games left, and I will count on everyone, including Isco and all the others."

Dermot Corrigan @dermotmcorrigan

Zidane nixing idea Isco not informally banned by the club after rows with Solari: “We are here to work and to think about football, only. Isco the same. He wants to play and we will not worry about [disciplinary cases]. Just play football, that’s all.”

The Spaniard was an anonymous figure during Solari's four months at the helm, starting just three matches for him.

In the Argentinian's final match in charge, a 4-1 win against Real Valladolid, Isco was left out of the squad entirely despite Vinicius Jr., Bale and Lucas Vazquez all being absent.

However, per Gracenote Live, only Vazquez made more appearances than Isco's 114 during Zidane's first spell at the club, so the Frenchman's return bodes well for him.

The same may not be said for Bale, as The Spanish Football Podcast observed:

The Spanish Football Podcast @tsf_podcast

Zidane's return would surely mean (if this wasn't certain already) that Gareth Bale will leave Real Madrid this summer. By the end of last season their relationship was non-existent.

Zidane hinted he will be calling on the Welshman, though, per Tom Allnut of the Agence France-Presse:

Tom Allnutt @TomAllnuttAFP

Zidane on Bale: "I don't want to talk about his season, only about the 11 games he has left. We all know the player Gareth is and I am counting on him like everyone else."

Given his relationship with the manager, Bale's long-term future in the Spanish capital looks to be in jeopardy, but that may not be the case if he's given the opportunity to impress in the coming weeks and takes his chance.

Zidane said he is not considering transfer plans yet, per Corrigan: "We are thinking about ending the season well, they should not think I am looking at who will go, who will stay. The players all have contracts here, then we will see what happens for next year. But for them it is about ending the season well."

The coach also addressed Real playing against Leganes on Monday, April 15, the day before the second legs of the UEFA Champions League quarter-finals commence:

Dermot Corrigan @dermotmcorrigan

what a question btw

His immediate focus is on beating Celta Vigo, though. Their opponents sit 18th in La Liga with one of the worst defensive records in the division—only Rayo Vallecano and Levante have conceded more than their 45 goals.

Celta are also winless in five matches, so Real should be capable of beating them comfortably on Saturday.

Zidane will need a response from his players to engineer that, though, because even in their win over Valladolid, they were second-best for much of the contest.

🚨 SPORTS NEWS ➡️ YOUR INBOX

The latest in the sports world, emailed daily.