In the face of strong criticism, Gareth Bale scored a memorable opening goal in Real Madrid’s 3-1 victory over Borussia Dortmund , leading Zinedine Zidane to admit he was happy for the Welsh forward, who has not endured the easiest of times of late.
After Cristiano Ronaldo and Dani Carvajal missed early chances, there was a fear that Los Blancos’ early-season profligacy in front of goal had reared its ugly head on the European stage.
Bale’s outstanding left-footed volleyed calmed the nerves with the French coach making a point of praising the 28-year-old in his post-match press conference.
“I hope there are many more turning points for him, I’m happy for him, it hasn’t been an easy time,” he explained.
Borussia Dortmund have always been able to stand toe-to-toe with the Spanish champions in an attacking sense and this has been evident in all of the recent meetings between the two teams.
Under Peter Bosz’s tutelage, this was likely be the case yet again although Zidane admitted that his team countered the threat posed by the hosts.
“We have watched a lot of Borussia’s matches,” he continued.
“We saw how they play football, that they are a team that plays and wants possession of the ball and we countered this very well.”
Despite such a positive result, the 45-year-old was unwilling to look any further than the next Champions League match, maintaining that his team’s performance was indicative of what they have been capable of in all competitions over the past year, rather than a special display reserved for the European stage.
“When you play this well people think it is because of the tournament,” he said.
“But we also did the same thing in LaLiga last year.
“It will be a difficult season, a long season, we can be happy with what we achieved tonight.”
In six previous visits to Signal Iduna Park, Los Blancos have failed to record a single victory and the French coach intimated that putting an end to this streak was an important achievement.
“It is not just another match, we have never won any of our matches here,” Zidane noted.
“We talked about a team that could put us in trouble at any moment but we have finally got a victory.”