Real Madrid manager Zinedine Zidane has reportedly issued Manchester United target Gareth Bale a warning to return to form, or risk losing his spot in the side.
Bale was heavily linked with the Red Devils throughout the summer transfer window and has since struggled to find a consistent level of form, with those at the Bernabeu whistling the Welshman off the field last month following a less than impressive performance from the forward.
According to Spanish outlet Don Balon, Zidane has thrown down a warning to the 28-year-old to re-discover his best form or run the risk of losing his automatic spot in the side to Marco Asensio, who rose to prominence during an injury-plagued season for Bale last term.
Following a summer of rumours and speculation over his future, which even suggested a £90m fee had been agreed between Manchester United and Real Madrid, Zidane is said to be understanding of Bale's predicament.
However, after refusing to make the move to Old Trafford this summer after deciding his future remains at the Bernabeu, Zidane now expects his star forward to put in the effort on the field and deliver for the club.
If the French manager fails to see an improvement in work-rate, it has been suggested that Asensio - who has scored four goals in his last five appearances - will be elevated to a more prominent role in the first-team in place of the 28-year-old.
After winning seven major honours in just a year-and-a-half at the helm of Real Madrid, Zidane has proved to be ruthless and will seemingly not hesitate to relegate Bale to the bench if he does not see the up-turn in performances which are required to defend their La Liga and Champions League double this season.