Zidane has given Real Madrid freedom, claims Bale

May 5, 2016

Gareth Bale praised Zinedine Zidane's impact since taking over at the Bernabeu following Real Madrid's progression to the Champions League final on Wednesday night.

Real beat Manchester City 1-0 in their Champions League semi-final second-leg tie to set up a meeting against Atletico Madrid at San Siro on May 28, with Bale playing a key role in Los Blancos' winner in the Spanish capital.

The Wales international was keen to highlight his manager's contribution to the home team's victory, exactly four months since Zidane replaced Rafa Benitez in the Madrid dugout.

"He's given us that belief and freedom to go out and express ourselves and enjoy ourselves," Bale told UEFA's official website.


"When players can do that you see the best of them."

However, Bale admitted the 20th-minute goal that finally separated the two sides was slightly fortunate, with the forward's center taking a crucial deflection off Fernando on its way past City goalkeeper Joe Hart.

"I went to cross, but obviously it doesn't matter however the ball goes in the back of the net," he said. "We're very happy and the most important thing is we're in the final.

"We're very excited to get to the final. We're going to enjoy this result. It was a very difficult two-legged game against Manchester City.

"But we're very happy that we kept two clean sheets and nicked a goal to get into the final. It was a very professional performance. We've really worked together as a team and that showed again tonight."

Bale, meanwhile, was delighted with his own display against City as he carried on his impressive form of late that has seen him score four times in his last five games in all competitions for Real.

"I enjoy taking responsibility on the pitch," he said. "Hopefully I can keep doing it, keep improving and putting in good performances."

Bale, though, knows just what a tough encounter now awaits him and his team-mates against Atleti, the second time the two city rivals have faced each other in the Champions League final in the space of just three years.

"We know that come the final it's going to be a very difficult, very cagey game again," he said.

"We know how they play, we know what they're like," he added. "It's going to be a difficult game, but we're confident we can win."