Zidane looks to Ronaldo and Bale to lead Madrid revival

Form and fitness have been respective issues for Cristiano Ronaldo and Gareth Bale this season but they remain vital to Zinedine Zidane.

Madrid are languishing 19 points behind rivals and runaway leaders Barcelona in LaLiga.   -  Getty Images

Cristiano Ronaldo and Gareth Bale will be the key figures in turning the second half of Real Madrid's season around, according to head coach Zinedine Zidane.

Madrid are languishing 19 points behind rivals and runaway leaders Barcelona in LaLiga, while Leganes humiliatingly dumped them out of the Copa del Rey last week.

However, back-to-back LaLiga wins over Deportivo La Coruna and Valencia have plundered 11 goals, with Ronaldo hitting a brace in each match after falling below his customarily prolific levels so far this season.

"It's the same as always, he's always there," said Zidane of the five-time Ballon d'Or winner ahead of Saturday's trip to Levante.

"We are always going to ask more from Cristiano because he is the reference point for this team.

"When you finish a game, people can always say Cristiano could have done more.

"I'm happy with him and the others the same. When there are difficult moments that's part of a season. We have to be positive and, in the end, I don't look at the past.

"I look at the last game that we did in Valencia. That's positive and at Levante we have another game to show that we want more."

A major positive among the gloom at the Santiago Bernabeu has been Bale's superb return to action following his latest troublesome calf injury setback.

The Wales star was the catalyst for the Deportivo thumping with an excellent brace and Zidane acknowledges Bale is unlike any of the other stars at his disposal.

"The important thing to start with is that he has consistency, he's in the team and he can train with his team-mates every day," the head coach explained.

"Most importantly, he needs the rhythm of the match. If he plays well and recovers well, with everything he can bring to the team he is a different player.

"When he is at his best, he is the player who makes the difference, quite simply.

"He's scored goals recently and we know when he gets the ball something is going to happen."

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