Gareth Bale: Real Madrid are better when forward plays - Zinedine Zidane

Gareth Bale
Gareth Bale has made 26 appearances for Real Madrid in 2016-17

Real Madrid boss Zinedine Zidane says they are a better side when injured forward Gareth Bale plays.

Bale, 27, came off with a calf injury after 39 minutes in Real's 3-2 El Clasico defeat by Barcelona in April.

Real beat city rivals Atletico Madrid on aggregate on Wednesday to reach the Champions League final for a second successive season.

"He's recovering and there's time for him to be ready for the final," Zidane told the Real Madrid website.

"I hope he's ready before and I hope he can be with us more than anything. We're a better team when he plays."

It is the second injury Bale has sustained this season after he was ruled out for four months when he hurt his ankle in Real's 2-1 Champions League win at Sporting Lisbon in November.

Gareth Bale and Paul Clement at Real Madrid
Paul Clement (right) was Carlo Ancleotti's assistant at Real Madrid between 2013 and 2015

Swansea City boss Paul Clement says Real will be desperate for Bale to be fit for the final.

Clement was Carlo Ancelotti's assistant when Real Madrid won the Champions League in 2014, with Bale scoring the decisive second goal in a 4-1 final win over city rivals Atletico Madrid.

"I know he's fighting to be fit for that and I hope he is," Clement said.

"It would be great for him to come back, he's one of their best players.

"He's done fantastically well over the last couple of years. He's won it twice already,

"It would be an amazing achievement to be at a club for four years and win three Champions Leagues. That would be outstanding.

"It's great for Wales. You've got two great teams and a great event coming to this country."

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