Benitez delighted with Bale double on Bernabeu bow
Real Madrid boss Rafael Benitez has hailed the impact made by Gareth Bale as the Welshman scored twice in Los Blancos 5-0 win over Real Betis on Saturday.
Benitez has been questioned early in his reign at the Santiago Bernabeu for playing Bale in a more central role as Madrid struggled to score goals in pre-season and were held 0-0 away to newly promoted Sporting Gijon last weekend.
However, there was no such problem in Benitez’s first home game in charge as Bale opened the scoring after just two minutes before sealing the rout with a sweet strike from distance late on.
“I liked Bale’s performance, but also that of James (Rodriguez), Cristiano (Ronaldo), who had most shots at goal and Keylor (Navas).
“We had a lot of positive things and a few small details to correct. That rewards the work and attitude shown by the players.
“The most positive thing can be summed up by the first five minutes: intensity, aggression, ambition and end product.”
Bale also set up Madrid’s third goal for Karim Benzema, but it was Rodriguez who stole the show with a wonderful free-kick into the top corner and an overhead kick either side of half time.
The Colombian had been left on the bench by Benitez last weekend, but he defended that decision due to Rodriguez’s participation in the Copa America.
“He didn’t just arrive back a little later, but a lot later because of the Copa America,” added Benitez.
“There is no debate. He is gaining rhythm and his quality cannot be in doubt.”
Keylor Navas also shone in goal as he saved Ruben Castro’s second-half penalty to record a second consecutive clean sheet.
However, Benitez refused to confirm the Costa Rican will remain his number one with Madrid still expected to try and finalise a deal for Manchester United’s David de Gea in the coming days.
“I work with the players I have, who are very good and I am delighted with.
“I just want to enjoy the 5-0.”