By Pete Jenson for MailOnline
Published: 18:12 BST, 17 August 2019 | Updated: 18:12 BST, 17 August 2019
So Real Madrid were bluffing all summer then? Zinedine Zidane just lulling the rest of La Liga into a false sense of security with that directionless pre-season devoid of organization and solidity.
He was fooling us all with his treatment of Gareth Bale, leaving him on the bench, in the stands, and then not even putting him on team plane.
In the absence of the injured Eden Hazard, Bale was picked to start for the season opener and he was Real Madrid’s best player in the first half laying-on the opener for Karim Benzema.
Gareth Bale was Real Madrid's best player in the first half after being handed a shock start
Bale whipped a brilliant left-wing cross into the box for Karim Benzema to slot home
The forward came off with 20 minutes remaining as Madrid started the season with a bang
And not only did Real Madrid beat Celta 1-0 when it was 11 v 11. They beat them 2-1 when it was 11 v 10 with Toni Kroos thundering in the second and Lucas Vazquez scoring the third after Luka Modric had been sent off.
On 11 minutes Bale made the goal that gave Madrid the lead. Casemiro and Gabriel Fernandez clashed for a loose ball but referee Xavier Estrada waved play on and Kroos played the ball out wide to Marcelo. Seeing that Bale had swapped wings and was running into space down the left he played him in and Bale ran between two Celta defenders before whipping a left-footed cross low into the six-yard box.