This article is part of Football FanCast’s Pundit View series, which provides opinion and analysis on recent quotes from journalists, pundits, players and managers…
We are slowly but surely approaching Real Madrid’s big weekend game at the Santiago Bernabeu as Los Blancos welcome Levante.
The expectations must be high and Zinedine Zidane’s troops must be yearning for a victory since they failed to register one in the last two games. But their opponent is no slouch.
Levante have won their last two games, scoring four goals in the process and are currently one spot above the Whites in the standings. Zidane faced the media in his official pre-game press-conference on Friday and talked about a number of different things, including the injuries, the team as a whole, their preparations for the game and overall aims.
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But among those topics, he also talked about Gareth Bale and Vinicius Junior, two players that were at the centre of hot debates not so long ago, and they still seem to be of interest to the media.
Here’s what Zidane had to say about Vinicius:
“Vinícius has the confidence of his coach, who is me. He is the future of Madrid, but everything takes time. Sometimes, he will not play. I fully trust Vinícius. I count on him. Stop saying that I don’t.”
This was something rather interesting. The young Brazilian, who is still kind of fresh in the Real Madrid squad, has only been mentioned in a negative context these past weeks.
During the summer and while the whole Neymar saga was raging, and Real Madrid were presumably still in the race, Vinicius’ name was often mentioned as a bargaining chip to get his compatriot from Paris Saint-German to the Spanish capital. Soon after that, the 19-year-old talent was subject of harsh criticism and the media were quick to raise the alarms, sowing doubt over his potential and even over his future at the club.
But if Zidane meant exactly what he said, it seems that there is hope for Vinicius after all.
After that, the Frenchman was asked about Bale and he only had words of praise for the 30-year-old:
“I have always said that Bale is a player with impressive quality. When what happened this summer happened, everyone knew the situation. Now Gareth is here with us and everyone is happy.”
Even though it seemed rather unlikely just weeks ago, Bale is seemingly no longer a person on the brink of a Real Madrid exit. Zidane was notoriously in favour of shipping him off a couple of months back and now he seems to be happy the Welshman is at the club.
This will be good news both for the player and the fans, many of whom are also happy to have him and still support him. Not to mention that he was one of their top performers in recent games, bagging two goals and one assist in the first three games.