Bale in limbo upon Zidane's return to the Real Madrid touchline

When Zidane returned to the touchline last Saturday, the fans received him with mixed feelings. The welcome was good, but of course, it could have been great. Many fans are not convinced he deserves all the credit for Real Madrid’s three consecutive title triumphs or whether Ronaldo had done all by himself. The fans have all the luxury to be casually uncertain about him, but as for Bale, the stakes are much higher for him. Coming from a history of being left out of the coach’s most preferred list, what does Zizou’s return really mean for him?

Gareth Bale of Real Madrid looks on during the La Liga m atch between Real Madrid CF and Levante UD at Estadio Santiago Bernabeu on October 20, 2018 in Madrid, Spain.  (Oct. 19, 2018 - Source: Denis Doyle/Getty Images Europe)

Gareth Bale of Real Madrid looks on during the La Liga m atch between Real Madrid CF and Levante UD at Estadio Santiago Bernabeu on October 20, 2018 in Madrid, Spain.

(Oct. 19, 2018 - Source: Denis Doyle/Getty Images Europe)

He might just leave

Zidane has expressed interest to sell the player or at least swap him for Chelsea’s Eden Hazard. According to him, Bale has so much potential that is only encouragement and passion away from being fully realised. Unfortunately, he is not the man to do that for him. The player’s agent said he is willing to be at the club for the rest of his career, but someone’s stay is only worth it while they are still needed. If the coach feels like he might be better off somewhere else, maybe that is what might just happen. This move has also been fuelled by critics who believe that Real Madrid generally, is not the best place for him to shine at, as he is the type of player that requires a lot of space on the pitch to shine. However, the team does not play like that. It uses a very close-knit kind of style. The challenge, however, is how expensive the player will be for other clubs. At this point in his career, not many teams can afford to pay “75m euros for him and the 12m euros net he is earning at the moment”.

They might all grow together

Upon his return, Zidane was quoted saying he will not talk about the player in isolation, because he is “counting on him like everyone else”. He says his eyes are fixed on the matches ahead and finishing the season strong. This might mean that he is willing to invest in players’ (even Bale) growth to make this possible. This means all past biases might be put aside for the bigger goal ahead of them. Even though many think that Zidane’s return spells doom for Bale, they might just be up for a great shock. He assured everyone that “Gareth, you all know what type of player he is, someone I will use just like everybody else. I'm going to end up repeating myself a lot. We are prepared for tomorrow and Gareth is ready for it too," said Zidane. As luck would have it, the 29-year-old Welshman ended up scoring in Zidane’s return debut, in Madrid’s 2-0 win over Celta Vigo.

Zidane just returned and drawing a conclusion of what this means for Bale might be a bit too early. It could just go sour until they part ways or this might just be the time when they work so well that the past becomes nothing, but a growth curve. Let us step back and see what the remaining 10 games have in store.