'He has demonstrated the player he is' – Zidane salutes Bale's goalscoring performance

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The Wales international enjoyed a welcome return to form on Sunday as he netted in the Blancos' 3-1 victory to keep in touch with Barca at the top

Zinedine Zidane saluted the goalscoring performance of Gareth Bale in Real Madrid's win at Real Sociedad, hopeful that it is a "turning point" after a difficult period for the Wales star.

Bale has been a hot topic at the Santiago Bernabeu so far this term, with the 28-year-old becoming the target of jeers from some sections of Madrid supporters on more than one occasion this season.

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The former Tottenham star endured an injury-hit campaign last term and is yet to truly rediscover the form of his first three seasons in La Liga.

But his goal in Sunday's 3-1 victory – a delicate finish after a 50-yard sprint – was his second in four league games this season and Zidane believes he proved a point with his performance.

"I'm very happy for him," Zidane told reporters. "There is a lot of talk about him, but he has demonstrated the player he is.

Gareth Bale Kevin Rodrigues Real Sociedad Real Madrid LaLiga 17092017

"It proved to be a great game, not only because of the goal. But I'm happy for the goal because he needed to put it in.

"It's not easy, after a 70 metre sprint. Technically he did it very well and, for me he's not even at his best.

"I know we're going to find [the real] Bale little by little. I know he can do a lot better, but we have to be patient, as I said before the game."

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Zidane also reserved special praise for Borja Mayoral, who scored his first LaLiga goal in what his first league start in Spain since April 2016.

"He's a good player," Zidane said. "He's young man, but he could have an important role, so I'm very happy for him.

"He's had the opportunity to play and he's done well."