Gareth Bale has returned to Real Madrid for pre-season training, and he is likely to stay at the European champions next season following the departure of Cristiano Ronaldo.

After scoring twice in May's Champions League final win over Liverpool, Bale revealed that he could leave the Santiago Bernabeu in search of a regular starting berth elsewhere, having begun the final on the bench.

However, a summer of upheaval at Madrid means that Bale may get the opportunities he craved under the previous management.


Julen Lopetegui has replaced Zinedine Zidane as manager and Bale will be determined to impress the former Spain boss in pre-season to earn his way into the starting XI by the time the La Liga season gets underway on 18 August.

AS reports that Lopetegui is a fan of Bale, and the Welshman's prospects have improved further with the news of Ronaldo's transfer to Juventus.

Bale has struggled to establish himself in the shadow of Ronaldo since joining Real in 2013, but after nine seasons at the club the Portuguese superstar has finally moved onto pastures new, joining the Italian champions for £88m.

Bale's agent Jonathan Barnett has reiterated his client's desire to play more regularly and there were planned talks between Barnett and club president Florentino Perez.

But those talks have been put on hold until Bale gets the chance to sit down and talk to his new manager about his plans.

With Ronaldo gone, Madrid fans will look elsewhere for a new favourite and Bale, despite often being maligned so far in his La Liga career, could become that man with some commanding performances.

He has scored 88 goals in 189 games for Real so far.