Real Madrid head coach Zinedine Zidane insisted Gareth Bale is a “very important” player for the Spanish and European champions.
Former Tottenham star Bale, who continues to be linked with a return to the Premier League, started on the bench as two-time reigning Champions League winners Madrid advanced to the quarter-finals following Tuesday’s 2-1 victory over a 10-man Paris Saint-Germain.
The Wales international forward was introduced with 14 minutes remaining in Paris, where Madrid sealed a 5-2 aggregate triumph.
Asked about Bale – who has only started two Champions League matches this season – Zidane told reporters: “The team is the important thing.
“Bale didn’t play in the first leg nor today, but that doesn’t have anything to do with it.
“He’s very important and will be right to the end.”
High fives all round in our dressing room after tonight’s win! See how the team celebrated at the Parc des Princes!#APorLa13 | #HalaMadrid pic.twitter.com/U0EuRn6FIU
— Real Madrid C.F. (@realmadriden) March 6, 2018
Bale was named among the substitutes as Zidane turned to Lucas Vazquez and Marco Asensio.
Vazquez was the provider for five-time Ballon d’Or winner Cristiano Ronaldo, who opened the scoring six minutes into the second half at the Parc des Princes.
Casemiro was also on target with 10 minutes remaining after Edinson Cavani pulled a goal back for the Ligue 1 leaders.
“It was important to put them in to have two banks of four defending their wide players,” Zidane said, referring to Vazquez and Asensio.
“We did that really well. Lucas is doing really well at the moment, and Marco too. We all are, but them in particular. I can’t explain anything more to you.
“I have to choose every three days and today the plan was to go with those players. They did well.”
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