Real Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane completed an astonishing transfer U-turn by confirming Gareth Bale’s place in his squad for the coming season.
After six seasons at the Santiago Bernabeu and four Champions League wins, Bale’s number appeared to be up over the summer.
Having barely been taken into account by Zidane towards the end of the 2018-19 the Welshman found himself in the middle of a bitter transfer stand-off.
Bale started Madrid’s Liga opener on Saturday in the absence of the injured Eden Hazard and set up Karim Benzema as the French striker opened the club’s account early on against Celta.
Toni Kroos and Lucas Vazquez extended the winning margin before Celta youngster Iker Losada scored off the bench in injury time to mark a final scoreline of 3-1 in the Merengue’s favour .
And after the final whistle Zidane had no qualms in assuring Bale he would have a part to play in 2019-20.
“He is going to stay. We have to focus on this season, nothing else,” the coach explained to reporters.
“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.”