Real Madrid manager Zinedine Zidane has said that he plans to use Gareth Bale this season, after the Welshman was reintegrated into the squad in the wake of his collapsed move to China.
Bale was in the closing stages of completing a move to Chinese Super League side Jiangsu Suning last month, but Real president Florentino Perez scuppered the deal at the last minute with demands for more money.
It seemed like Bale future was in limbo, with Zidane's comments at the time suggesting there was no way back for the 30-year-old, but speaking ahead of the season opener with Celta Vigo on Saturday (per SPORT), the boss has turned 180 degrees, and now says that Bale has a role to play in the season ahead.
“It seemed that he was going to leave, and he is here with us now. Things can change, and now I will count on him, like the others," he said. "He has a contract, is an important player, and I hope that all the players want to make things difficult for me to pick the team.”
The news comes the day after it emerged that James Rodriguez could be set for a similar Real Madrid redemption story.
The Colombian was verging on a move to Napoli, but with the start of the season looming, Zidane was reported on Thursday to have taken him off the transfer list. The manager said in the same press conference that he is pleased to have him in and around the squad, and will be fit and available for selection from the off.
"I'm glad to have James on the squad. He's fit. All of us who are going to have them."