Bale vital to Real Madrid, says Pepe

The Wales midfielder has made an explosive start to pre-season and his team-mate believes that he will be an important figure in the upcoming 2014-15 campaign
Pepe has praised Gareth Bale for his performance in Real Madrid’s first pre-season match and stressed how vital he is to the team ahead of the new campaign.

The former Tottenham star opened the scoring with a long-range effort in los Blancos' opening International Champions Cup game against Inter, but the European champions could only draw 1-1 before losing 3-2 on penalties.

"Bale was good today," centre-back Pepe told reporters after the match. "Okay, he was very good! He will be a vital player for us.

"There is a long way to go before La Liga begins, but we are getting prepared. As always we have to take it one game at a time."

The defender also addressed his own performance, coming after a disappointing World Cup campaign in which he was sent off in his country's first game and missed the rest of the tournament through suspension.

"It was the first game of the season, and it shows, but we will continue working to improve," he added. "I’ve only been here a week, but I’m well, in good condition."

Real Madrid kick off their competitive season with the Uefa Super Cup against Sevilla on August 12, before facing Atletico Madrid in the Spanish Super Cup ahead of their league opener with Cordoba on the weekend of August 23.