Bale fires Zidane to dream start

Zinedine Zidane got off to a dream start as Real Madrid Coach as Gareth Bale's hat-trick inspired a 5-0 demolition of Deportivo La Coruna on Saturday.

James Rodriguez had been tipped to start in the Frenchman's first game in charge of Los Blancos, but reports Isco still had a future at the club appeared to have gravitas as he was named alongside Toni Kroos and Luka Modric in a three-man midfield, akin to that of Carlo Ancelotti's reign.

Elsewhere, Dani Carvajal came in for Danilo at right-back after recovering from a long-standing thigh injury, while the 'BBC' of Gareth Bale, Karim Benzema and Cristiano Ronaldo were all in attendance.

Spectators were treated to an open encounter at the Santiago Bernabeu, but the defensive lapses which overshadowed Ancelotti and Rafa Benitez's reigns lingered in the background. Nonetheless, Lucas Perez, December's Player of the Month, could only fire a close-range effort at Keylor Navas.

That was as good as it got for Depor as Benzema would raise the curtains on Zidane's reign, backheeling a shot past German Lux, despite suspicions that Bale was offside in the build-up. The goal marked the Frenchman's 100th in La Liga, at a rate of almost exactly one in every two games.

Bale returned to the right-wing position he took up under Ancelotti, having played centrally under Rafa Benitez, but he caught the eye with a number of dangerous deliveries into the box in the first half, before grabbing his 10th goal of the campaign with a powerful header.

Ronaldo, meanwhile, was desperate to join his fellow attackers on the scoresheet, but he was not in possession of his shooting boots against the Galicians. A series of failed snapshots was compounded by a header against the post from point-blank range after his late run was picked out by Bale.

Madrid were a dealt a blow a half-time as Sergio Ramos was forced off with a recurrence of his shoulder complaint, but they proceeded to score three more before the final whistle, Bale netting his second of the evening with a powerfully-placed finish into the bottom-right corner of Lux's net from Ronaldo's cutback, despite space being at a premium.

The Welshman then became the first La Liga player to net two hat-tricks in 2015-16 as he exhibited his devastating heading ability once more, this time leaping highest to guide the ball into the roof of the net.

Ronaldo's frustrating night continued, dragging a shot wide of the far post and failing to connect with Marcelo's cross in front of goal, and his decision to run the ball into the net, when it was easier to shoot, resulted in Benzema smashing home the rebound with seconds to spare.

Real Madrid 5-0 Deportivo La Coruna

Benzema 15, 90, Bale 22, 49, 63

Real Madrid: Navas; Carvajal, Ramos (Varane 46), Pepe, Marcelo; Kroos, Modric, Isco (James 66); Bale (Jese 74), Benzema, Ronaldo

Deportivo: Lux; Juanfran, Arribas, Sidnei, Navarro (Luisinho 66); Cartabia (Jonas 46), Bergantinos, Mosquera; Fajr (Riera 66); Lucas, Alberto

Referee: Perez Montero

Tags Deportivo