MADRID (AFP) – Real Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane believes the harsh treatment meted out to Gareth Bale by his own fans at the Santiago Bernabeu can push the Welshman to greater heights.
Bale bounced back from jeers as Real opened their Champions League campaign with a 3-0 win over APOEL Nicosia last week by scoring just his second goal of the season in spectacular fashion in a 3-1 victory at Real Sociedad on Sunday.
“It is part of a player’s career, but at times it is good to note that you are not doing things well,” said Zidane yesterday ahead of the Spanish champions’ La Liga clash with Real Betis tonight.
“I am not speaking just about Gareth, but in general. It happened to me and I think it is good because you want to react and do better in the next game.”
Zidane has consistently pleaded for patience with Bale, who missed four months of last season through injury, and failed to win his place back in the side for the Champions League final in June.
And despite a full pre-season, Zidane believes it is still some time before Bale will hit top form again.
“I have always said we need to have patience with him,” added the Frenchman.
“We know how good he is if he is completely fit, but he will need time and we will see that.
“It will still take more time to see the best of Gareth, but he is already doing very well.”
Zidane has the luxury of welcoming back Cristiano Ronaldo for the visit of Betis after he completed a five-game domestic ban for pushing a referee in the Spanish Super Cup.
“We are happy that he is back and I hope it is the last time that we don’t have him,” said Zidane.
“Cristiano is happy because what he likes is to play and be with his teammates.”
Zidane also repeated he is set to become the latest member of the Madrid side that has won back-to-back Champions Leagues to extend his contract with the club.
“The issue of the renewal is done, but that doesn’t mean anything,” added Zidane, whose current deal runs out at the end of the season.
“What it is important for me is the day-to-day. I don’t look further ahead than what I am doing each day.”
Marcelo, Isco and Dani Carvajal have all extended their deals at the Bernabeu to 2022 in the past week.