Zidane: Bale remains 'really important' to Real Madrid

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The Welsh winger was named among the substitutes on Tuesday but his manager talked up his importance to the side

Real Madrid head coach Zinedine Zidane insisted Gareth Bale is a "very important" player for the Spanish and European champions.

Former Tottenham star Bale, who continues to be linked with a return to the Premier League, started on the bench as two-time reigning Champions League winners Madrid advanced to the quarter-finals following Tuesday's 2-1 victory over a 10-man Paris Saint-Germain.

The Wales international forward was introduced with 14 minutes remaining in Paris, where Madrid sealed a 5-2 aggregate triumph.

Asked about Bale – who has only started two Champions League matches this season – Zidane told reporters: "The most important thing is the squad and the players. I respect all the players - Gareth Bale too. 

"It's true he started on the bench in the first leg and tonight as well, but it doesn't matter.

"I have to choose players and Gareth is a really important player and will be until the end."

Bale was named among the substitutes as Zidane turned to Lucas Vazquez and Marco Asensio.

Vazquez was the provider for five-time Ballon d'Or winner Cristiano Ronaldo, who opened the scoring six minutes into the second half at the Parc des Princes.

Casemiro was also on target with 10 minutes remaining after Edinson Cavani pulled a goal back for the Ligue 1 leaders.

"It was important to put them in to have two banks of four defending their wide players," Zidane said, referring to Vazquez and Asensio.

"We did that really well. Lucas is doing really well at the moment, and Marco too. We all are, but them in particular. I can't explain anything more to you.

"I have to choose every three days and today the plan was to go with those players. They did well."

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