Sunday, 10 January 2016

Bale Treble Answers Real Questions

Gareth Bale scored a hat-trick as Zinedine Zidane began his time as Real Madrid manager with a comprehensive win over Deportivo La Coruna.

Karim Benzema claimed his 100th league goal for the club with an early opener in the first game since the departure of previous manager Rafael Benitez.

Bale headed the second and found the bottom corner after the break before sealing his treble with another header.

Benzema hit a fifth to leave Real two points behind league leaders Barcelona.

The inclusion of the attack-minded Dani Carvajal in defence as one of two changes hinted at the way Zidane wants his full-backs to get forward more. He was repaid when the right-back, in for Danilo, set up the first of Bale's goals. And it was the kind of line-up the fans wanted to see.

Bale filled in as an emergency full-back for a short spell in the second half

Zidane was instrumental in Welshman Bale's record-breaking £85.3m move to the Bernabeu from Tottenham in 2013 and he will continue to be a centre-piece of the new manager's plans if he keeps producing displays like this.

Bale did not start off too well, and he should have been flagged offside as Benzema claimed Real's first goal. But from that point, the 26-year-old's contribution was wholly positive.

He departed to a hero's send-off when substituted towards the end, and the look of envy on Cristiano Ronaldo's face conveyed how fine a performance it had been.

The visitors should have taken the lead, and Zidane will have been alarmed at the ease with which his side allowed crosses into their area, especially in the first half. A lack of communication between his centre-backs also needs to be addressed.

Of course any side possessing Ronaldo, Bale and Benzema will score goals but, despite the clean sheet, Real continue to look vulnerable at the other end.

"Whenever you win a match, then the coach can only be happy, and I'm happy. What I liked most of all was the attitude of everyone, those who played and those who didn't.

"Winning 5-0 isn't easy against a side like Deportivo and I'm happy with our first game and our first four days of training."

Real have more than a week to prepare for their next game, when they host struggling Sporting Gijon on 17 January.

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