The Welshman’s future at Santiago Bernabeu is shrouded in mystery, but the Blancos boss inisists he is still a key figure at the club
Santiago Solari insists Gareth Bale remains firmly in his plans as Real Madrid prepare for a second Clasico in the space of four days.
Bale has started just two La Liga games in 2019 and was limited to a second-half substitute appearance as Los Blancos slipped to a 3-0 Copa del Rey semi-final second-leg defeat to Barcelona on Wednesday.
Solari’s side have the chance to avenge that defeat and close the nine-point gap to the league leaders when Ernesto Valverde’s side once again travel to Santiago Bernabeu on Saturday.
Bale’s future at the club has been the subject of intense speculation in recent weeks, with the Wales international cutting an increasingly frustrated figure, but Solari is adamant that the forward – alongside other recent absentees Marcelo and Marco Asensio – will play an important role as the season draws to a close.
“They are still important,” he told a press conference on Friday.
“Bale has played every game since returning from injury and is scoring goals.
“We all know what Marcelo means and Asensio has played since he came back and scored in Amsterdam [against Ajax in the Champions League] the goal that gives us the advantage.
“All are important, not only those who start the matches. Titles are earned with full squads.”
Solari confirmed that Isco is back in full training after a back injury and will be fit enough to play some part against Barca.
While the Spain international might not be fit enough to start the game, Solari will have no hesitation in continuing with Vinicius Junior in the attack.
The 18-year-old – who received his first call-up to Brazil’s senior squad this week – has become a key member of Madrid’s first team under Solari and turned in another dazzling display against Barca.
“I like to look at all the positive things that football players do,” Solari added.
“Vinicius has a lot of positive things; his ability, quality, sacrifice, willingness to learn and how he can stand the pressure – so many things in such a short time.”