Bale assured by Zidane that Real Madrid are still 'relying' on him despite bench duty

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The Wales international was an unused substitute in a Champions League semi-final victory over Bayern Munich, but remains an important squad player

Real Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane has insisted that he will be relying on Gareth Bale late in the season despite leaving the attacker on the bench against Bayern Munich.

Bale was an unused substitute as Madrid recorded a 2-1 win over Bayern in the first leg of the Champions League semi-final at the Allianz Arena on Wednesday.

The Wales international has made just five appearances – three of those starts – in Europe's premier club competition this season.

But Zidane says Bale still has a role to play late in the season for Madrid, although there has been plenty of speculation over the 28-year-old's future.

"I have to make choices and I've got some very good players in the squad," he told a news conference.

"There are some players who are performing well at the moment.

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"There are still more games to come and I'll be relying on him. It's not true that I don't play him."

Former Tottenham star Bale has been heavily linked with a return to the Premier League, either at Spurs or their domestic rivals Manchester United.

He has also been mooted as a possible transfer target for Bayern, with the door being left open to a potential switch to Germany.

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