Zidane: Bale a key player despite Madrid boos

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The winger was jeered by Real Madrid fans on Sunday but his coach has faith in the reported Manchester United target

Real Madrid head coach Zinedine Zidane insists Gareth Bale remains a key player for the Spanish and European champions after he was booed on Sunday.

Bale came in for extra attention from the Santiago Bernabeu crowd following Madrid's 2-2 draw against Valencia in La Liga.

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The 28-year-old Wales international – linked with Premier League giants Manchester United – was upstaged by two-goal hero and team-mate Marco Asensio as he was substituted and jeered by sections of the home fans.

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"He's a key player in the squad. Gareth is Gareth. We keep working hard and we rely on Gareth, just as is the case with the other players," Zidane said.

"Gareth's situation is good. He had scoring opportunities but did not convert them. We're going to keep working on this.

"I can't criticise my players, quite the contrary. I'm very happy with their work."