Thibaut Courtois claims Real Madrid's poor pre-season immaterial after win in La Liga opener

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Real Madrid custodian Thibaut Courtois praised the performance of his team-mates in their 3-1 win over Celta Vigo and indicated that pre-season results count for little once the league begins.

Los Blancos endured a series of disappointing pre-season results, the most notable of which was a 7-3 hammering by city rivals Atletico Madrid. Zinedine Zidane’s men and the Belgian in particular were subject to heavy criticism for the poor show.

However, the capital club put the disappointment behind them and got off to a flying start in their La Liga campaign with a well-earned 3-1 win at the Balaidos. Courtois claimed that the pre-season results are now immaterial.

“We have worked hard, and at times the results haven’t gone well in pre-season due to various factors,” Courtois admitted after the match, according to Marca.

“Gareth Bale had a great game. La Liga starts from the first day and not before.

“We have worked well this week and played well in the first half. With a player less, we fought together and scored two more goals in the second half.”

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Gareth Bale 'has to play' insists Casemiro as Real Madrid make great La Liga start v Celta Vigo

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Gareth Bale may have lost influence with Zinedine Zidane but his Real Madrid team-mates are still full of respect for his accomplishments, according to Casemiro.

The Wales star was seemingly set for the Bernabeu exit after a summer of transfer speculation – in which he was close to moving to China before the deal fell through – and indications that he was no longer part of Zidane’s plans.

Bale, however, made a surprise start in Real’s La Liga opener against Celta Vigo and impressed by providing an assist for Karim Benzema in a 3-1 win.

Whenever the 30-year-old leaves the Spanish capital, he will do so having played a huge part in at least four Champions League trophies and a La Liga title – and Casemiro insists he ‘has to play’.

“He [Bale] has given us titles, he’s scored in finals and he has a lot of respect from us all,” Casemiro said. “He has to play. He’s a great player and is very important for us.”

Real have stolen a march on Barcelona, who stumbled to a shock 1-0 defeat against Athletic Bilbao on opening night.

However, Casemiro added: “The Barcelona defeat doesn’t change anything. We are thinking about our football and about our matches.”

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Zinedine Zidane confirms Gareth Bale will stay at Real Madrid

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Real Madrid boss Zinedine Zidane confirmed that Gareth Bale will stay at the club after the Welshman starred in the 3-1 win over Celta Vigo.

Bale was back in the starting team and back in sizzling form, with Zidane’s eagerness to sell him this summer perhaps fresh in his mind as he teed up Karim Benzema’s opening goal.

After the match, Zidane said he believes Bale will now stay at the Bernabeu, with the Spanish transfer window closing on September 2.

“He is going to stay. We have to focus on this season, nothing else,” Zidane said.

“Hazard’s injury is bad luck for us, but it has not changed the idea we had for Bale in this game.

“Gareth, James [Rodriguez] and all the players here are going to defend this shirt.”

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