Real Madrid beat Celta Vigo 2-0 at the Santiago Bernabeu Stadium on Saturday afternoon in Zinedine Zidane’s return to the dugout, less than 10 months after he resigned as coach. Isco and Gareth Bale, whose future at the club is very much up in the air, scored second half goals against a rival who travelled to Madrid already in the relegation zone and never looked like getting anything from the match. Much of the day’s interest was in Zidane’s first starting 11 on his return to the club. The Frenchman brought Keylor Navas back in goal for Thibaut Courtois, while Marcelo returned at left back and Isco, who had been virtually ostracized by Santiago Solari, was also back in the team.
Marco Asensio played on the left wing while Bale also started despite speculation that he could pay the price for having criticized Zidane after Zidane’s departure last summer. There was a good crowd in the Bernabeu with fans hoping to see a vintage Real Madrid performance, but after a season as disappointing as Madrid’s has been, it isn’t easy for a side to suddenly turn on the style. and the first half was a disappointing affair with Celta offering little and Madrid too sluggish to take advantage of them. Things changed in the 62nd minute as Celta lost the ball cheaply in midfield, allowing Luka Modric to feed it to Asensio, who opened up space for Karim Benzema to produce a pass across the face of goal for Isco to score from close range. Zidane showed his man-management skills by immediately replacing Isco with Dani Ceballos, allowing Isco to take the applause and to give Ceballos a chance to impress. Bale added the second with a smart run and right foot shot in the 77th minute and he too was swiftly replaced by Fede Valverde. Zidane made his presence felt and the fans left the Bernabeu, for once, with smiles on their faces.