Gareth Bale must play for Real Madrid as he has helped deliver titles, insisted team-mate Casemiro.

Bale reminded Zinedine Zidane what he is capable of with an assist in an impressive performance as Madrid opened their LaLiga campaign by beating Celta Vigo 3-1.

The Wales star had been tipped to leave Madrid after head coach Zidane said last month it would be better for him to depart the Santiago Bernabeu, where Bale has won four Champions League titles and a LaLiga crown among other trophies.

Bale – who was linked with a move to the Chinese Super League – now looks set to remain in the Spanish capital, and Madrid midfielder Casemiro praised him following Saturday's triumph.

"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."

Madrid goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois added: "He is an important player and played a great match. Everyone loves him and it is important that he plays for us. We are so happy with Bale."

It was a winning start for Madrid, who survived a Luka Modric red card as they overcame Celta with 10 men away from home.

Bale teed up Karim Benzema for the 12th-minute opener before Modric was sent off for catching Denis Suarez on the heel following a VAR review approaching the hour mark.

Despite their numerical disadvantage, Madrid wrapped up all three points thanks to Toni Kroos and Lucas Vazquez, while Iker Losada netted a stoppage-time consolation.

"Preseason was not easy for us, there were games in which we did not play well, but we knew we doing things right," Courtois said. "We feel good, today we showed that. We played a good game and we went ahead with 10 players. That is key.
"We knew that in the second half they were going to press us. In the one-on-one with Aspas I did well, made a good save. I have good reflexes and I got a hand to it. That helped give the team real confidence. We did well today but it is a shame not keep a clean sheet. We need to keep it up and work hard. Now we focus on Valladolid."

Gareth Bale did not travel for Real Madrid's participation in the Audi Cup on doctor's advice, according to head coach Zinedine Zidane.

Madrid suffered their third defeat in four winless pre-season outings at the Allianz Arena on Tuesday – Harry Kane giving Tottenham a 1-0 triumph that would have been far more comfortable but for the heroics of goalkeeper Keylor Navas.

Bale is not part of the squad taking part in the exhibition tournament but looks increasingly likely to remain under Zidane's charge after a prospective move to Chinese Super League side Jiangsu Suning collapsed over the weekend.

"Bale did not travel as he was not feeling good," the Madrid head coach told reporters afterwards.

"Speaking with the doctors it was better to stay in Madrid and train there. That's it. It's a decision taken together, speaking with him. That's it."

Bale was on target in the 2-2 draw against Arsenal that remains Los Blancos' only positive result in their preparations for the 2019-20 campaign – though he missed his spot-kick in the 3-2 penalty shoot-out victory that followed.

Zidane was also unwilling to offer any clarity on James Rodriguez's future – another player apparently surplus to requirements under the Frenchman – but is unperturbed by the poor form of those who are part of his plans.

"I always think positively," he said. "I know it is difficult, we are coming off a tough season and Madridistas might not think it but we have a great team.

"We are not ready yet but we will pick up confidence and play and come out of this. We just need to win a game."

Navas' performance was one of few highlights for Madrid as he made a string of excellent saves either side of Kane's goal in the first half.

Thibaut Courtois suffered a sprained ankle as he shipped five first-half goals in the 7-3 loss to Atletico Madrid in New Jersey.

The Belgium international's previously expressed certainty that it was "clear" who the Madrid number one would be this term no longer looks so well placed.

"Keylor played a great game, that's it," Zidane added. "What Thibaut said [about being number one] we'd have to see.

"There are no automatic starters here. We're all in the same team, and all must be prepared."

Gareth Bale has been left out of Real Madrid's Audi Cup squad following the collapse of his move to the Chinese Super League.

The Wales international looked set to join Jiangsu Suning after his relationship with coach Zinedine Zidane appeared to have broken beyond repair.

That deal fell through on Sunday, however, with Madrid's board reportedly unhappy at the lack of transfer fee involved, while some outlets suggested Bale pulled out over family concerns regarding the move to China. 

Bale was in pre-season training with Madrid on Monday but worked away from the rest of the squad, while agent Jonathan Barnett confirmed he is likely to remain at the club for the 2019-20 campaign.

Zidane has left him out of the squad for the tournament in Munich, though, which means a reunion with former club – and potential suitors – Tottenham on Tuesday has been scuppered.

There is no place in the squad for Thibaut Courtois either, with Los Blancos confirming he has suffered a grade two ankle sprain.

Belgium international Courtois played the first half of his side's 7-3 International Champions Cup thumping by city rivals Atletico Madrid on Friday.

He was replaced at half-time by Keylor Navas, who was Courtois' understudy for much of last season, having previously helped the club to win three consecutive Champions League titles.

The Costa Rica international only made 10 LaLiga starts for the club in the 2018-19 campaign, but with no timescale put on Courtois' return he will hope to stake a permanent claim for the number one spot.

Eder Militao, Casemiro and James Rodriguez also miss the trip to Munich having begun their pre-season preparations on Monday.

Atletico Madrid have agreed a deal to bring Marcos Llorente to the Wanda Metropolitano in a reported €40million move from Real Madrid.

Llorente made just seven LaLiga appearances last season and will hope for more opportunities with Atleti, where he appears set to replace Manchester City target Rodri.

Incredibly, Llorente is following in the footsteps of his father, Paco, and his grandfather, Ramon Grosso, who also represented both of the capital's biggest clubs.

They are not the only players to turn out for the two teams, though. Here are six of the best players to have featured for Atleti and Madrid...

Thibaut Courtois

Courtois enjoyed a superb three-season loan spell at Atletico, helping them to end an 18-year wait for a LaLiga title and reach the Champions League final in 2014, having also won the Copa del Rey and Europa League. He was similarly successful upon returning to Chelsea, adding two Premier League titles, an FA Cup and the EFL Cup to his list of honours, but he has yet to hit those same heights at Madrid after leaving Stamford Bridge last year.

Theo Hernandez

Before older brother Lucas agreed to depart Atletico for Bayern Munich, Theo controversially left them for Madrid in 2017 having not played a professional game for Simeone's side. The left-back made 23 appearances in his debut season for Madrid, winning the Champions League, but was loaned to Real Sociedad for 2018-19.


Though he went on to secure a place as a legendary figure in Madrid's storied history, things could have been very different for Raul, who was in Atletico's academy until it was closed as a cost-saving measure. Madrid took advantage and got him on their books, and Raul went on to win six LaLiga titles and three Champions League trophies with the club, becoming their record goalscorer with 323 strikes to his name before eventually being displaced by Cristiano Ronaldo.

Alvaro Morata

Morata spent four seasons with Atleti as a youth player but made his breakthrough in senior football with bitter rivals Madrid, where he won eight trophies - either side of two seasons with Juventus - including two LaLiga crowns and two Champions Leagues. A lack of first-team football saw Morata on the move again in 2017, but he failed to settle after being made Chelsea's record signing and was sent back to boyhood club Atleti on loan in January. A steady start returned six goals in 17 appearances in all competitions.

Santiago Solari

Midfielder Solari made the move from River Plate to Atletico in 1999, but their relegation from LaLiga in 2000 led him to the Santiago Bernabeu, where he served as a workmanlike force for the 'Galacticos'. Solari won a pair of LaLiga titles and the 2001-02 Champions League, thanks to Zinedine Zidane's stunning volley against Bayer Leverkusen, but did not enjoy the same success as his former team-mate in the dugout, lasting less than five months in charge last season.

Bernd Schuster

Schuster evidently did not mind making controversial transfers. After great success at Barca, he moved to the other side of the Clasico rivalry and won two LaLiga titles and the Copa del Rey. The German midfielder and future Madrid coach went on to claim a further two Copas with Atletico following his 1990 move across the city.

Eden Hazard will make the difference at Real Madrid and help lead the LaLiga giants to many titles next season, according to Thibaut Courtois.

Hazard joined Madrid from Premier League side Chelsea on a five-year deal on Friday for a fee that could reportedly rise to €140million.

The Belgium international attacker won two Premier League titles and as many Europa League crowns during his time at Chelsea, where he played alongside Courtois before the star goalkeeper left for Madrid in 2018-19.

And Courtois – whose first season in Madrid resulted in a third-place finish in LaLiga – is expecting big things from Hazard at the Santiago Bernabeu.

"If he speaks a little Spanish, it will be even better," Courtois said following Belgium's 3-0 Euro 2020 qualifying win over Kazakhstan on Saturday.

"It's very nice that we're going to be together. He's my friend, I get along very well with him and his family.

"For Madrid it's going to be fantastic. I think [Hazard] is going to make the difference and I hope we can win many titles next season."

Belgium team-mate and Napoli forward Dries Mertens also praised Hazard following his move to Madrid.

"I'm happy for him, it's a good step forward," Mertens, who scored against Kazakhstan, said post-match. "He's already one of the best players in the world, and now he has to take advantage of his opportunities to become the best of all."

Hazard – who led Chelsea to Europa League glory this season – is the fourth new arrival at Zinedine Zidane's Madrid ahead of the 2019-20 campaign.

The 28-year-old follows Eder Militao, Luka Jovic and Rodrygo Goes to the Spanish capital club, with Madrid also reportedly eyeing Lyon full-back Ferland Mendy, Manchester United star Paul Pogba and Paris Saint-Germain's Neymar.

"Welcome to the best club in the world". That was Thibaut Courtois' message after Eden Hazard's move to Real Madrid.

Hazard joined LaLiga giants Madrid from Chelsea on a five-year deal on Friday for a fee that could reportedly rise to €140million.

The Belgium international attacker won two Premier League titles and as many Europa League crowns during his time at Chelsea, where he played alongside Courtois before the star goalkeeper left for Madrid in 2018-19.

And Courtois welcomed Hazard to the Santiago Bernabeu via social media as the Belgian duo prepare to reunite in Madrid.

"Welcome to the best club in the world!!! @hazardeden10 @realmadrid," Courtois wrote on Twitter.

Hazard – who led Chelsea to Europa League glory this season – is the fourth new arrival at Zinedine Zidane's Madrid ahead of the 2019-20 campaign.

The 28-year-old follows Eder Militao, Luka Jovic and Rodrygo Goes to the Spanish capital club, with Madrid also reportedly eyeing Lyon full-back Ferland Mendy, Manchester United star Paul Pogba and Paris Saint-Germain's Neymar.

Thibaut Courtois believes that he is thriving under the pressure of playing for Real Madrid despite Los Blancos' difficult season.

Former Chelsea goalkeeper Courtois signed for Madrid following an impressive showing for Belgium at the 2018 World Cup but his first campaign at Santiago Bernabeu has been a turbulent one.

Courtois has made 27 LaLiga appearances in total so far this term, though he lost his place in the side when Zinedine Zidane succeeded Santiago Solari, with Keylor Navas preferred.

The 27-year-old has since regained his starting spot, but Madrid's form has tailed off and they have won just three of their previous eight league fixtures.

A disappointing campaign comes to a close against Real Betis on Sunday, but Courtois insists that the stresses of playing in front of an expectant Madrid crowd will only have improved his game in the long run.

"It would be good to give one last joy to the fans, go on vacation with a victory and finish the year well to prepare the next season," Courtois said in an interview with Codere.

"We are training with a lot of enthusiasm because we know it was not the best season, but we are improving, we are training very hard to prepare for the next season and we are looking forward to finishing well.

"It's very nice, it's a dream to be able to play in a big stadium, when I'm in the goal and I see the Bernabeu from there it's very beautiful.

"It gives more adrenaline, more desire to play well, it's pressure too but I like to play like that.

"To the fans I ask you to continue supporting us, we know that this year was not the best but the following year we will go for all of them [trophies] again."

Madrid are guaranteed to finish third in LaLiga, with the squad reportedly set for big changes in the off season.

Eintracht Frankfurt striker Luka Jovic is rumoured to be a priority target, while Gareth Bale has been linked with a move away from Madrid.

Zinedine Zidane confessed himself a little angry with Real Madrid's failure to break down Getafe in Thursday's 0-0 LaLiga draw.

Madrid made it three away games without a win as they failed to find a breakthrough against Jose Bordalas' stubborn side at Coliseum Alfonso Perez, where Karim Benzema came closest to scoring for the visitors.

The result was a more welcome one for Getafe, who stay fourth in the table despite Sevilla's 5-0 thrashing of Rayo Vallecano, meaning Champions League qualification remains in their hands with four games to go.

Madrid, meanwhile, are almost certain to finish third and largely have one eye on next season already, yet Zidane was still hoping for a better attacking display from his players.

"We had chances to score many times and we didn't," the Madrid boss said, as quoted by AS. "We're a bit annoyed with the result. We deserved a lot more.

"The players played a very good game. We were good defensively and we weren't at risk. We were just missing the goal to win the game. We're a bit angry for not winning.

"You want to make changes [off the bench] to improve things. They didn't create what I hoped they would. That's how it is.

"The good thing is the clean sheet. The rest..."

Zidane chose to stick with Keylor Navas in goal, despite Thibaut Courtois having returned to full fitness, and the Costa Rica international made a vital double save in the second half to deny Jorge Molina and Jaime Mata.

However, Zidane would not be drawn on who will start against Rayo on Sunday.

"Both of them are at the disposal of the coach," he said. "Keylor played today. Afterwards, we'll see."

Real Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane was cagey about the futures of Keylor Navas and Thibaut Courtois but accepted one of the goalkeepers could leave at the end of the season.

The keeper position has often been a cause for reported internal squabbles at Madrid over the last year or so, starting with Kepa Arrizabalaga last season.

Madrid's hierarchy were said to have lined up a move for Kepa from Athletic Bilbao, but the deal ultimately fell apart due to Zidane's apparent misgivings and his trust in Navas.

The club's seeming lack of faith in Navas again looked apparent after Zidane left the club last May, as they brought Courtois in from Chelsea for a reported €35million fee after David de Gea became unattainable and the Belgian became first choice under Julen Lopetegui and then Santiago Solari.

However, Courtois has had an underwhelming season by his usual lofty standards and has been dropped in favour of Navas since Zidane's return, with recent reports of the former Atletico Madrid star being put up for sale unlikely to be cooled by the coach's latest comments.

Speaking ahead of Thursday's trip to Getafe, Zidane said: "As always, I will not tell you [the media] what I want. Sometimes I want things, they do not happen, just the opposite.

"You want to talk about the goalkeepers, but it is not the moment to talk about that. Courtois is available with Keylor, and Luca [Zidane] isn't, that's it.

"The goalkeepers all have contracts. It is my responsibility [to choose], you will see who plays over the last five games.

"This is not the moment to talk about this, but next year it will all be very clear for everyone.

"I'm not going to answer [whether he will rotate between LaLiga and the Champions League]. You'll find out next year.

"I was saying it recently, I have the best two [goalkeepers] and a young one who is good and has a future.

"Keylor and Thibaut are very good. It's easy for you, but complicated for me when I have to choose, and not only in terms of the goalkeepers, but in general when everyone is available."

Zidane was then asked if he would understand why one of Navas or Courtois might ask to leave the Santiago Bernabeu should it become apparent they will be second choice, and the coach appeared to open the door to such a situation.

"Anything can happen," he said.

Keylor Navas hopes he can stay at Real Madrid next season and fight for the number one spot under head coach Zinedine Zidane.

Since returning to the LaLiga club, Zidane has rotated his goalkeepers but Thibaut Courtois' injury has allowed Navas to stake his claim.

The Costa Rice international was in goal for Madrid's three consecutive Champions League titles won in Zidane's first spell.

But Madrid continue to be linked with a move for Manchester United goalkeeper David de Gea at the end of the season.

Navas had the gloves for Monday's 1-1 draw at Leganes and he is planning to stay at the Santiago Bernabeu – if he is wanted.

"I'm very happy, grateful to God for giving me the chance to be here," Navas said after Madrid's poor form continued, Zidane's side having only won one of their past three LaLiga games.

"Whenever I get the opportunity to play I do the best I can. I hope I can stay at Madrid next season. I have a contract and we have to wait and see if anything changes there.

"It has been complicated season for everybody. We come out with a desire to win and play at our best but the results aren't always going our way, we're all sad for the situation, it's complicated.

"We're always willing to win and we've got our pride, our love for the shirt is worth a lot more, and we have to demand more wins and better results from ourselves."

"I think at this club every year we're under pressure, so it's no excuse. We have to be ready mentally to face any situation that happens and that's why we're Madrid players."

Sergio Ramos is absent from Real Madrid's squad for a home game against Eibar in LaLiga.

The Madrid captain is not included in a 19-man squad named by Zinedine Zidane for Saturday's game.

Ramos has started 28 of Madrid's 30 LaLiga games this term, including Wednesday's 2-1 defeat to Valencia.

With a 13-point gap to rivals Barcelona, who lead the LaLiga table, Madrid have little to play for.

However, with eight games of the season still to play they are not mathematically certain of Champions League qualification.

Third-placed Madrid have a nine-point cushion from Valencia, who are unbeaten in 17 games in all competitions, who are fifth.

Along with Ramos, goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois continues to miss out, with Vinicius Junior and Dani Carvajal also injured.

Real Madrid goalkeeper Keylor Navas said he will leave the club if told to by head coach Zinedine Zidane.

Zidane promised to clarify Madrid's goalkeeping dilemma at the end of the season, with Navas and Thibaut Courtois vying for a starting berth.

Three-time Champions League winner Navas was demoted to second choice following the arrival of Courtois at the start of the campaign, though the Costa Rican started Wednesday's 2-1 LaLiga loss at Valencia.

Asked about his future post-match, Navas told reporters: "If the coach tells me to go, that's what I'm going to do. But I have a contract and my present is at Real Madrid."

"I will always try to give my best and convince the coach that I should play," he added. "I have a contract and I want to be here, but let's see what happens. Let's focus on finishing the season well.

"We have to, for the honour of the badge, go out and win the remaining [eight] matches."

Madrid suffered their first defeat since Zidane returned to replace Santiago Solari last month – Goncalo Guedes and former defender Ezequiel Garay consigning the capital club to their ninth league loss of the season.

Zidane's side – already out of the Champions League – are third and 13 points adrift of leaders Barcelona.

"It's a difficult time," Navas said. "It's been a year that has not gone as we had hoped [prior to the season starting] but we must face up to it.

"We must face this moment and hopefully that will help us to learn from all the mistakes we have made this year so that we can enjoy what this club deserves in the next few years."

Real Madrid have been boosted by the return of several key players for Wednesday's clash with Valencia, although goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois remains out.

Raphael Varane, Luka Modric, Toni Kroos and Marco Asensio were all left out of the Madrid squad for Sunday's home match against Huesca, in which Karim Benzema struck late for a 3-2 win.

But all four players have been named in Zinedine Zidane's group for the trip to Valencia.

Injured star Courtois is not included in the travelling part, though, so Zidane will again have a decision to make, with son Luca having started ahead of Keylor Navas at the weekend.

Navas was selected for the game against Celta Vigo on March 16 but was left out against Huesca after a late return from international duty with Costa Rica.

Zidane promised on Tuesday he will provide clarity on the goalkeeping situation for next season.

Debates over who is Real Madrid's first-choice goalkeeper will become a thing of the past next season, Zinedine Zidane has promised.

Three-time Champions League winner Keylor Navas was demoted to second choice after the arrival of Thibaut Courtois from Chelsea in August.

But the Belgium international has struggled for his best form at the Santiago Bernabeu and Navas, who remained Madrid's goalkeeper for domestic cup matches under Santiago Solari, was restored for the first game of Zidane's second tenure as head coach – last month's 2-0 win over Celta Vigo.

Navas' late return from international duty with Costa Rica and Courtois sustaining a minor injury while away with his country meant the head coach's son Luca Zidane started Sunday's 3-2 win against LaLiga basement boys Huesca.

Speaking ahead of Wednesday's trip to Valencia, Zidane insisted bringing clarity in the last line of his defence is a priority for next season.

"There's not going to be a debate next season about the goalkeepers. It's going to be really clear," he said.

"We're not going to have one day talking about him or next week another episode about the goalkeepers. It's going to be very clear."

While that stance could mean problems for the senior goalkeepers on Madrid's books, Luca Zidane's status has come under question following his selection against Huesca, with critics making accusations of favouritism.

"Nothing changed for me. People who know me know that Luca is here on his own merits. That's it," the Real Madrid head coach added.

"He's a member of this squad and has been here at this club for 16 or 17 years.

"We could speak about other youth-team players. We could talk about [Dani] Carvajal and the debut of many youth-team players here. Luca is one of them.

"People can have their opinion and if they want to take things on a personal level I don't care about that."

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