Bale returns when Real Madrid returns to the winning forms
VIGO (Spain): Zinedine Zidane promised changes but it was a retro Real Madrid that gave the revolution a winning start on Saturday as Gareth Bale led the way in a 3-1 victory over Celtic vigo .
Bale was back on the team and back in shape in Balaidos, with Zidane's eagerness to move him this summer still perhaps in his mind while he was teasing. Karim Benzema The first goal.
Celta saw a possible equalizer scored before the break. Luka Modric of Real was then ejected 11 minutes in the second half, but an impressive 30-yard shot by Toni Kroos put Madrid firmly back in control.
When Lucas Vázquez added a delicious third party, at the end of a silky pass movement, it was possible to wonder where Madrid had been during the last 12 months, particularly because this initial line-up did not include a single summer signature.
Zidane wanted Paul Pogba but it was Casemiro, Modric and Kroos in the center of the field, the same trio he chose for the Champions League final in 2018.
The coach also started Marcelo, possibly the worst player in Madrid last period, and Bale. Last month, Zidane had said it would be best for everyone if the Welshman was sold.
Eden Hazard, who injured his thigh in training on Friday, will certainly start when he is fit again and there will be much tougher opponents than Celta, who finished 17th last season and died and was buried before Iker Losada delivered a late consolation .
But, after a poor preseason, Zidane needed a positive opening. This was made even sweeter by the defeat of Barcelona against Athletic Bilbao on Friday night.
Celta spent much of the game feeling aggrieved, no more than after Benzema scored after only 12 minutes.
The home team claimed a lack of Casemiro in the accumulation. After that, Bale still had a lot to do, his dart in one direction and then in the other, freeing up space to drive to the nearby post, where Benzema reacted faster.
At first, Bale was everywhere, blocking a cross in his own penalty area before being unleashed at rest, his shot scraped away by Ruben Blanco.
Celta also had its moments. Gabriel Fernández's thrust was short on the back post. Brais Mendez tapped after the impressive Denis Suarez stole Álvaro Odriozola and Iago Aspas made the final pass.
Aspas, however, had been lost offside when VAR avoided Odriozola's blush. The referee, Javier Estrada, set off to a chorus of whistles at the break.
Benzema and Aspas rejected the opportunities shortly after the restart before Modric was kicked out for an innocuous late challenge on the heel of Suarez. Estrada consulted the review and had no doubt.
Nestor Aruajo directed the ball directly to Thibaut Courtois, but just when Madrid seemed about to give in, Kroos produced his beam from 30 yards, the ball fell from the crossbar and entered.
That knocked out Celta. Three fell when a brilliant movement of the team, which involved Isco, Benzema and Marcelo, found Vázquez free in the back post.
Bale had been replaced by Isco, exchanging a slap with Zidane as he advanced, before Losada returned home in time of injury.