Football

Gareth Bale deployed as striker during Rafa Benitez training session

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New Real Madrid boss Rafa Benitez took the surprise decision to deploy Gareth Bale as a striker in one of his first training sessions in charge as the Spaniard tinkers with ideas ahead of the new season.

Benitez was the surprise choice to replace Carlo Ancelotti after the Italian was let go following a trophy-less season last time round. Superstar Cristiano Ronaldo was said to be less than impressed with the choice having gone public with his support of Ancelotti before he was handed his marching orders.

The Portuguese superstar is likely to be even more unhappy after Bale was handed a starring role in attack during a training session as Real Madrid prepare for their pre-season tour in Australia. 

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According to the Mirror, Benitez started the session, which took place in a freak downpour, with striker Karim Benzema in attack with Ronaldo on the left.

However eyebrows were then raised when Bale was given a chance in attack ahead of Ronaldo. The Welshman started his career as a left-back but has progressively moved up the pitch, and by the time he left Tottenham he was operating in a central position behind a striker. 

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Young striker Jese was also given a chance to show what he could do in attack. Ronaldo previously insisted he was looking forward to working under Benitez, although the pair shared something of an awkward exchange when they met up for the first time yesterday.

Previously it was reported that Bale was targeting a number 10 role for the 2015/16 campaign, having come in for criticism for his performances last time round.

Response

The former Tottenham star was booed by sections of his own fans at the Bernabeu last season for a string of underwhelming performances, especially in the Champions League.

Some even went as far as to target his car when he left Real Madrid's training ground and he has been linked with an exit to Manchester United, although that seems highly unlikely now.

Opinion

Rafa Benitez is walking a tightrope with Ronaldo. He doesn't have the reputation of say, Jose Mourinho, so it means he has to convince his all-star squad that he is the man to lead them forward for next season.

Starting off by putting Bale ahead of Ronaldo is far from ideal, but if he thinks it's the best thing for the team then it is what he must do. Bale has very little experience playing as the main striker and likes to roam across the front line - and that could actually open up space for Ronaldo to exploit.

However the former Manchester United man won't see it that way, and if Benitez can't get the best out of him he is doomed to fail.

Do you think Real Madrid will fail under Rafa Benitez next season?

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Topics:
Gareth Bale
Premier League
Real Madrid
Cristiano Ronaldo
Football

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