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.”
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.”
In the absence of injured new signing Eden Hazard, it was Karim Benzema and Gareth Bale who contributed with goals and assists as Real Madrid opened their domestic campaign with a comfortable 3-1 win at Celta Vigo on Saturday.
Bale, who many thought would be gone from the squad by now, put Madrid on the way to victory by setting up Benzema’s opening goal, then Toni Kroos and Lucas Vázquez added to the lead in a match in which Madrid played most of the second half with 10 men following a red card to Luka Modric.
After Madrid’s attempts to transfer Bale failed, Zinedine Zidane started the Wales forward at Balaídos Stadium and he was key for the team’s victory.
“He is going to stay,” said Zidane.