Casemiro, Courtois praise Bale; want him to stay at Real Madrid

It was a winning start to the new La Liga campaign for Real Madrid, which survived a Luka Modric red card as it overcame Celta with 10 men away from home.

Gareth Bale teed up Karim Benzema for the 12th-minute opener in the opening game against Celta Vigo.   -  Getty Images

Gareth Bale must play for Real Madrid as he has helped deliver titles, insisted team-mate Casemiro.

Bale reminded Zinedine Zidane what he is capable of with an assist in an impressive performance as Madrid opened its La Liga campaign by beating Celta Vigo 3-1.

The Wales star had been tipped to leave Madrid after head coach Zidane said last month it would be better for him to depart the Santiago Bernabeu, where Bale has won four Champions League titles and a La Liga crown among other trophies.

RELATED | Bale bags assist to give Zidane's Real Madrid winning start

Bale – who was linked with a move to the Chinese Super League – now looks set to remain in the Spanish capital, and Madrid midfielder Casemiro praised him following Saturday's triumph.

"He [Bale] has given us titles, he's scored in finals and he has a lot of respect from us all," Casemiro said. "He has to play. He's a great player and is very important for us."

Madrid goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois added: "He is an important player and played a great match. Everyone loves him and it is important that he plays for us. We are so happy with Bale."

It was a winning start for Madrid, which survived a Luka Modric red card as it overcame Celta with 10 men away from home.

Bale teed up Karim Benzema for the 12th-minute opener before Modric was sent off for catching Denis Suarez on the heel following a VAR review approaching the hour mark.

RELATED | Bale is staying at Real Madrid - Zidane brings an end to transfer saga

Despite its numerical disadvantage, Madrid wrapped up all three points thanks to Toni Kroos and Lucas Vazquez, while Iker Losada netted a stoppage-time consolation.

"Preseason was not easy for us, there were games in which we did not play well, but we knew we doing things right," Courtois said. "We feel good, today we showed that. We played a good game and we went ahead with 10 players. That is key."

"We knew that in the second half they were going to press us. In the one-on-one with Aspas I did well, made a good save. I have good reflexes and I got a hand to it. That helped give the team real confidence. We did well today but it is a shame not keep a clean sheet. We need to keep it up and work hard. Now we focus on Valladolid."

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