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Zidane understands Bale pressure

Zinedine Zidane says Real Madrid have not overpaid for Gareth Bale, but the club's latest 'galactico' will be under pressure to succeed given the amount of money that has been paid.

Gareth Bale and Cristiano Ronaldo shared a handshake at the Real Madrid training ground on Wednesday.
Bale and Ronaldo share a £166 million handshake.

Train: Time for Madrid 20-21?

Madrid and Tottenham continue to claim different final sums were involved in the transfer, with the Liga giants sticking to €91 million and the Premier League outfit claiming a new world record fee of €101 million.

Either way, Zidane, who joined Madrid from Juventus in 2001 for a then-record figure of €73.5 million, told that the size of the fee would increase the pressure on the Wales winger to perform at his new club.

"I think the signing of Bale is very important for Real Madrid," the Frenchman said. "He has been the best player in the Premier League over the past two seasons and he will help us a lot in this regard.

"Some of my statements about Gareth have been misinterpreted. When I said that he is a player that costs a lot of money, that he cost a lot of money, even the president said that, I was referring to the great pressure that this player will be under. At least that's what happened to me.

"In Bale's case, from the very beginning, I encouraged the president to make every effort to sign him because, as I said, he will bring so much to us, the team and everyone."

Zidane said one player who has thrived under the pressure of being a big-money signing at the Estadio Santiago Bernabeu has been the €94 million signing from Manchester United, Cristiano Ronaldo.

"The pressure is huge, of course, but we have the best example in Cristiano Ronaldo," said Zidane, who is now an assistant coach to Carlo Ancelotti.

"He is the most expensive player in football history and he has spectacularly overcome enormous pressure. His stats, his performances.

"Everything he gives to Real Madrid on and off the pitch is genuinely spectacular. Real Madrid do not consider his price but rather everything he brings to the club. In one word, he has, I don't know, I think he has scored 205 goals in 205 games. Cristiano is the world's best forward."

Ronaldo and Bale both look set to feature in Madrid's La Liga game at Villarreal on Saturday evening, with the Portugal captain having returned to full training following a few days recovery work on the thigh problem which saw him miss Portugal's 3-1 friendly defeat to Brazil in Boston on Tuesday night.

Midfielders Isco and Luka Modric have also recovered from minor issues picked up while on international duty last week, but Madrid's two specialist left-backs Marcelo and Fabio Coentrao look set to miss this weekend's game with both players suffering minor hamstring problems while away.

Some reports have claimed that Bale -- who says he is happy to play anywhere coach Carlo Ancelotti suggests -- might therefore make his debut in his old position, however it is more likely that the Italian will move Alvaro Arbeloa across to the left and play Dani Carvajal on the right of his defence.

Bale would then start on the bench, but is likely to feature at some stage against Villarreal, who like Madrid go into the game with a 100% record from their first three Primera Division outings of the season.


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