“He has the spotlight on him”: Solari challenges Bale to shine ahead of Valladolid visit

Real Madrid caretaker boss Santi Solari claims Gareth Bale ‘has the spotlight on him’ ahead of Los Blancos’ tie with Real Valladolid.

The Welsh international has come under fire recently having not found the net in any of his last 7 games.

Bale was almost anonymous in last weekend’s Clásico humbling at the Camp Nou and is struggling to fill Cristiano Ronaldo’s supersized shoes.

Madrid play host to Brazilian Ronaldo’s Valladolid on Saturday afternoon looking for their first league win in 5 games.

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Solari, who turned out on the famous white of Real at the start of the 21st century, backed Bale to rediscover his form in his pre-match press conference on Friday:

“Tiene el spotlight para él. Espero que nos muestre su enorme talento. Lo queremos disfrutar todos los días, es un jugador fantástico.”

“He has the spotlight on him. I hope that he shows us his enormous talent. We want him to enjoy him every day, he is a fantastic player.”

Bale, who moved to Madrid from Tottenham in 2013 for a world-record £86m, started the season in fine form with a goal in each of his first three games. Since then, he’s managed to notch just once for his club and has been partially blamed for Madrid’s slide down the La Liga table.

As well as Bale, Solari also spoke about 18-year-old Brazilian winger Vinicius Junior, who was given very little game time by Julen Lopetegui since arriving in Spain in the summer:

“Necesita jugar para coger experiencia y con la experiencia se hará mejor jugador. Todos vemos el talento que tiene.”

“He needs to play to gain experience and with that experience he will become a better player. We all see the talent that he has.”

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Vinicius played just 12 minutes in total under Lopetegui in La Liga and has featured prominently for Solari’s Castilla during the season. He shone in their midweek trip to Melilla in the Copa Del Rey and many Madrid fans are calling for his inclusion in the first team. He arrived with a huge reputation having cost a staggering £38.7m at the age of 17.

Real Madrid’s opponents on Saturday, Real Valladolid, actually sit above Los Blancos in the table having won four of their last five games. They were taken over by former Madrid striker Ronaldo in September and salvaged a point against Espanyol last Friday through Daniele Verde’s stoppage-time free kick. Solari recognised that it will be a tough game for his side:

“Es un equipo muy ordenado, muy bien trabajado, con el ánimo muy arriba. Harán un partido serio y estricto”.

“They are a very organised and well-worked team who are in great spirits. They will play a serious and strict match.”


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