La Liga logo

The trainer had kind words to say about his fee through the week but he won’t be risking him for the Merengue’s next outing.

Zinedine Zidane defended Gareth Bale’s performance against Celta Vigo, yet the Walesh hasn’t yet been included in Real Madrid’s squad for the trip to Levante.

Bale began and performed 84 minutes on Sunday, as Madrid were held to a 2-2 home draw by Celta, who equalised late on through Santi Mina.

And while the Welshman failed to impress, Zidane jumped to his defence after the match.

“I believe Bale played a fantastic game and we must keep thinking that there is a ways to go and we must consider what we do on the pitch to enhance it,” Zidane said in the aftermath of the draw.

However, Bale won’t get the opportunity to continue in Madrid’s XI this week after he had been left out of the squad for the clash with Levante.

The 30-year-old has allegedly been struggling with a stomach bug, which meant he couldn’t train on Wednesday.

Striker Luka Jovic has also missed out with the Serbia international reportedly experiencing precisely the identical issue — while Rodrygo and Nacho don’t feature in the 19-man squad.

Eden Hazard, who made his comeback from injury against Celta, is also included.

Madrid have been boosted by the return to non-contact training of Marco Asensio, who has missed the entirety of this season because of a knee ligament injury.

Marcelo also retains his place, despite being another focus of criticisms after Sunday’s draw.

“I don’t think he makes us poorer, because he had been great in the back, but you bring out stats,” Zidane said of the Brazilian.

“I’m contented with everybody for how they perform and if they play.”

Madrid remained top of La Liga despite these dropped points, although they allowed Barcelona to reduce the deficit to just one point after Quique Setien’s side prevailed over Getafe.

The Catalans and Madrid both play on Saturday, with Barca kicking off at home to Eibar Before the Merengue’s trip to Levante.