Bale backed by Real Madrid team mates to overcome crowd jeers
Real Madrid midfielder Casemiro has defended team mate Gareth Bale after the Welshman was jeered by sections of the Bernabeu crowd during Wednesday's 3-0 win over APOEL Nicosia in the Champions League.
Despite laying on the opener for Cristiano Ronaldo with a pin-point cross, there were once again dissenting voices directed at Bale, who has scored just once for Madrid in six appearances so far this season.
As the 28-year-old was substituted, senior players encouraged the fans to applaud the No. 11 and Casemiro leapt to his defence.
"You can see he's not in his best moment, but he's working hard for the team: shooting, fighting and that's the Bale we need," Casemiro said.
Although Bale has been plagued with injury for much of the year, head coach Zinedine Zidane was confident that the club's record signing would prove his worth.
"Bit by bit we're seeing the player Gareth is. After four months out injured you need the same time to recover," he said.
"I think we'll see him improving bit by bit. I'm happy with what he's doing. We need to give him time."
With Real Madrid stumbling to two draws in their opening three La Liga fixtures in the absence of the suspended Ronaldo, they already sit four points adrift of league leaders and rivals Barcelona and can ill-afford another slip-up.
In addition to missing the Portuguese talisman, the Spanish and European champions will also be without French forward Karim Benzema and Brazilian full back Marcelo for Sunday's visit to high-flying Real Sociedad, who are second to Barca on goal difference only.
Ronaldo once again showed in midweek why he is so important to the side. Without him, Bale will be expected to step up to the fore as the champions battle to keep up pace with their rivals at this early stage of the season.
Real include 700 million euro clause in new Isco deal
Real Madrid have included a 700 million euro buy-out clause in playmaker Isco’s new five-year contract, designed to prevent a repeat of the Neymar situation experienced by Barcelona, local media reported on Thursday.
Real's rivals Barca were caught off-guard when Paris St Germain triggered the 222 million euro ($263.65 million) buy-out clause in Neymar's contract, which paved the way for the Brazil striker to move to the French club in August.
Spanish and European champions Real announced on Thursday that Isco has signed a four-year extension to his current contract, which was due to expire at the end of this campaign.
By law contracts in Spain must feature a buy-out clause and Madrid have pro-actively insisted on inserting unattainably high clauses into new deals for players, starting with the clause in Isco’s contract, Marca and AS reported on Thursday.
A key player for both club and country, Isco is in his fifth season in the Spanish capital after joining from Malaga. He has become a fans’ favourite at the Bernabeu.
A winner of three Champions Leagues and one Liga title with Madrid, the 25-year-old has developed into a pivotal component of Zinedine Zidane's side over the past 18 months after initially struggling to establish himself.
He has made 197 appearances for the club, scoring 34 times, and was named man of the match as they dispatched Manchester United in the European Super Cup in August.
He also starred for Spain, scoring twice as they defeated Group G rivals Italy 3-0 earlier this month to move within a victory of World Cup qualification.