Zidane drops Courtois for first game back in charge — Real Madrid


The 13-time European champions have virtually nothing left to play for as they have been knocked out of the UEFA Champions League and Copa del Rey, while they sit 12 points behind leaders FC Barcelona.

Bale has always been linked with a move back to the Premier League following his switch to Real Madrid from Tottenham Hotspur back in September 2013.

"Zidane has spoken to each one of individually and now we need to be professionals and work hard".

Zinedine Zidane has recalled Gareth Bale and Isco while dropping Thibaut Courtois for his first match since returning as Real Madrid's head coach.

Courtois was the biggest surprise, given he was bought by Madrid for around 40 million euros ($45 million) last summer and had established himself ahead of Navas under Santiago Solari.

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Madrid have endured a tough season, struggling to adapt to life without Cristiano Ronaldo as the squad that won three consecutive Champions Leagues has shown signs of ageing.

Manchester United are set to face a fresh fight to keep David de Gea after Zinedine Zidane returned as Real Madrid manager.

An atmosphere of positive encouragement to welcome their returning hero marked a welcome change at the Santiago Bernabeu to recent games and Zidane felt his team grew into the contest against their relegation-threatened visitors.

"We are all very excited, we have renewed hope after that tragic week", said Odriozola. We have to stay focused on competing and not thinking about who is playing or who isn't.