Real Madrid round-up: Bale, Hazard, Kroos, Reinier
Monday's Real Madrid round-up features Gareth Bale, Eden Hazard, Toni Kroos and Reinier, as well as a historic Bernabéu event on this day in 1974.
Gareth Bale praised after second consecutive start
Gareth Bale made his second consecutive league start in the 2-2 draw with Celta Vigo, with Zidane choosing to line out with the Welshman, Eden Hazard and Karim Benzema up front.
His most notable moments were a stunning assist for Sergio Ramos’ early goal, which was annulled by VAR for offside, and a yellow card for a nasty challenge in the 72nd minute on Rafinha that could have easily been red. All in all, Bale put in a poor showing but still managed to receive applause from the Bernabéu crowd when he came off on 84’. Both Zinedine Zidane and Madrid’s director of institutional relations, Emilio Butragueño, praised the Wales forward after the game.
“Bale worked hard for the team,” said Butragueño, while the French coach stated that the Welshman “played a good game”. The big question will be whether Zidane believes his performance was good enough to warrant a third consecutive start for Bale against Levante next weekend.
Hazard “happy” with Celta performance
Eden Hazard made his long-anticipated return to the Madrid starting XI after a three-month absence due to a foot injury. The Belgian, who spoke to Spanish broadcaster Movistar after the game (answering questions in English), said he was happy with his own individual performance but disappointed with the end result, as Madrid surrendered a 2-1 lead in the 85th minute when Santi Mina equalised for Celta.
"I felt good,” he said. “The first 10 minutes I was tired, but as the minutes went by I felt fine. I'm happy with my performance, but not with the result. I hope we'll improve in the next few games.”
He added: "When a team is winning 2-1 you try to see out [the game], but it wasn't to be. There's still a lot of games left and we're going to fight it out until the end."
Reinier to be presented at Bernabéu on Tuesday
Following in the footsteps of Vinicius and Rodrygo, young Brazilian midfielder Reinier has made the long trip across the Atlantic to begin his new life in the Spanish capital. Having landed at Madrid’s Barajas airport on Saturday, the 18-year-old attended the Madrid-Celta game at the Bernabéu on Sunday night, and was seen smiling from ear to ear as he watched on with his family.
This Monday, the club confirmed that Reinier will be officially presented at the Bernabéu on Tuesday at the local time of 13.30 (CET). The former Flamengo player will be initially registered with Castilla and be handed the ‘19’ shirt.
Celta Vigo: Kroos’ favourite victim
Toni Kroos scored Madrid’s second goal against Celta, latching onto Marcelo’s low cross and expertly guiding his side-footed shot into the bottom right corner.
Kroos’ goal was his sixth in 13 games overall against Celta, making it the club against whom he has scored the most goals in his career, ahead of Valencia and Hertha Berlin (three goals each). So far this season, the German midfielder has netted five goals for Los Blancos, already equalling his current record set in 2017/18.
On this day: February 17, 1974: Real Madrid 0-5 Barcelona
Real Madrid have been on the back of a few 5-0 drubbings by Barcelona over the years, but only once has it occurred at the Bernabéu. And it happened on this day, February 17, 1974. The 5-0 defeat remains, to this day, Madrid’s largest-ever loss at home to their bitter rivals.
Juan Manuel Asensi scored a brace, while Johan Cryuff, Juan Carlos and Hugo Sotil bagged the other three goals in a game that will be forever remembered as the day ‘Total Football’ humbled the Bernabéu.