Bale's form cloud Real's return to form in Liga
madrid: Talk of a crisis at Real Madrid is over for now, but the form of Gareth Bale remains a cause of concern ahead of this weekend's meeting with Alaves in La Liga.
The Welshman was back on the bench for Wednesday's 3-1 victory at Leganes, his involvement restricted to a late cameo as Zinedine Zidane's side claimed a fourth consecutive win.
Bale had started in last weekend's 5-3 success at Betis but failed to impress, having also been left out of the line-up for the 3-1 Champions League win against Paris Saint-Germain.
He has not completed 90 minutes since September due to injury and poor form, and the Madrid media appear to have made their minds up -- "Bale's credit has run out", said the headline in one piece in sports daily Marca on Thursday.
When Zidane was asked if Bale had been left out in Leganes to protect him, the Frenchman's response hinted all is not well.
"It was a little bit of everything. I am happy with Gareth, but we need to go little by little with him," he said.
"We want him to find his best form, then we'll see what we do in the coming games. We are playing well at the moment and I am going to need everyone."
Cristiano Ronaldo was rested at Leganes but could return as Madrid look to extend a run that has seen them take 16 points from a possible 18.
That form has lifted them into the top three, although they remain 14 points behind leaders Barcelona.