Illarramendi hails Bale's Real Madrid debut

The world's most-expensive player made a goalscoring start to life at his new club and one of his new team-mates was left impressed by his early promise
Asier Illarramendi lauded the performance of his new team-mate Gareth Bale after the winger scored on his first start for Real Madrid.

The Spain Under-21 international made his debut alongside the world’s most-expensive footballer as Madrid battled to a 2-2 draw against Villarreal on Saturday evening but all eyes were on the former Tottenham man and Illarramendi was happy to point out why.

“He is a great player and important for us,” the 23-year-old told Real Madrid's official website.

“He scored on his debut and showed just how good he is.”

Illarramendi went on to add that he was delighted to get some time on the pitch after overcoming the injury problems that have plagued him since his arrival at the Bernabeu, but he also admitted he is still some way off match sharpness.

“It was tough when I got injured. I came and two weeks later I was injured. I’ve been out for two months and now I’m back I’m very happy," he added.

“I haven’t played for a while and it was clear I’m lacking that spark. But I’ll gain the rhythm of training sessions and the matches.”

Illarramendi arrived at Real Madrid over the summer from Real Sociedad for €38 million.