Ryan Giggs is backing Gareth Bale to make a positive contribution at Real Madrid now that a “strange” transfer saga has seemingly come to a close.
When the summer window opened, the chances of the 30-year-old forward seeing it out at the Santiago Bernabeu appeared to be slim.
Zinedine Zidane had lost faith in the Wales international and was prepared to move him on, with switches to the Premier League or Chinese Super League mooted.
No deal has been done, though, and Bale was back in the Real starting XI for a season opener against Celta Vigo – in which he teed up the breakthrough goal for Karim Benzema.
He is now set to stay put, with national team coach Giggs expecting a proven performer to put a testing period behind him and play an important role for the Blancos.
Giggs told reporters of a man who has spent six trophy-laden years in Spain: "I'm really pleased with the situation at the moment and looking forward to him meeting up.
"You can't take anything for granted in football because it can change quite quickly.
"You can be on top of the world and then get an injury or miss a chance and then it turns. Or vice-versa. You can go through a bad time and then score a fluky goal and everything turns around.
"You have to work hard like I said about Gareth. When you do that usually good things happen.
"I kept in touch with him, not every day but just to see if he was all right. It's obviously positive at the moment.
"He played at the weekend and did really well and it looks like he's staying now. I've always said he's at a fantastic club but probably a couple of weeks ago we wouldn't have seen this situation.
"It was a strange situation but hopefully now it's sorted out, Gareth stays and he plays games."
Giggs added, with a resolution having been found in a long-running episode: "Everyone thought it didn't quite look right but now it looks like they have sorted their differences out and he's playing."