BARCELONA, Spain — Carlo Ancelotti is ready to give Gareth Bale another opportunity at Real Madrid.
During his presentation to start his second stint as Real Madrid’s coach on Wednesday, Ancelotti said that he expected Bale to return — and play well — from his loan at Tottenham.
“Gareth hasn’t played much in the Premier League, but he did score goals,” Ancelotti said. “He was effective in the final games of the season when he played consistently. I know him well. If he is motivated to play, he can have a great season. I have no doubt.”
Ancelotti mentioned Gareth Bale three times during the news conference following his signing of a three-year deal with Madrid. Ancelotti counted him among a group of veterans he said he “had strong affection for” from his first spell with the Spanish powerhouse.
He said that he expects Bale and other players like Isco Alarcon and Marcelo, who had lost their starting roles under Zidane, “to practice hard so as to show their coach that they want to play for Real Madrid.”
Gareth Bale played his best for Madrid during Ancelotti’s first season in charge in 2013-14, when the Wales winger scored goals in the finals of the Champions League and the Copa del Rey to help win both titles.
But Bale, once the most expensive signing in the history of the club, later fell out of favor with Zinedine Zidane and was eventually sent back to Tottenham on loan last season. In London he had injury problems early in the season and did not win the confidence of Jose Mourinho. He improved in the second half of the season, scoring 10 of his 11 Premier League goals from the end of February.
Bale said in March that his intention was to go back to Madrid. Ancelotti could ease his return to a club whose fans had fallen out with Gareth Bale for his inconsistent performances.