Zidane delighted with Bale, Asensio
ZINEDINE Zidane praised his two goalscorers Gareth Bale and Marco Asensio after Real Madrid got their La Liga campaign off to a strong start with a 3-0 win at Real Sociedad on Sunday.
The Real coach was without first choice forwards Cristiano Ronaldo and Karim Benzema through injury, but a trip to a ground that has caused them plenty of problems in the past got off to a flying start when Bale headed home in the second minute.
Asensio doubled the lead five minutes before halftime with a splendid lob and Bale put an extra shine on the win with a further goal in injury time.
Bale returned to pre-season training later than most of his Real teammates due to reaching the semi-finals of Euro 2016 with Wales, which Zidane said made his dominant performance even more impressive.
“I’m delighted for him because he’s behind the rest of the players in terms of fitness but you couldn’t tell,” Zidane told a news conference.
“He started in the best way possible, scoring an early goal, because this is a difficult ground if you don’t take your chances. He has already said this is going to be an important year for him and he is already proving it.”
While Bale is into his fourth campaign since joining Real from Tottenham Hotspur in 2013, Asensio was making his league debut for the European champions after returning from an impressive loan spell at Espanyol.
The Spaniard, who signed from Mallorca in 2015, was chosen ahead of Isco and James Rodriguez and scored the best goal of the game, bringing down Raphael Varane’s long pass before producing an effortless chip over goalkeeper Geronimo Rulli.
“It hurts my head choosing who to play but I have to decide and he started and did very well,” said Zidane of Asensio.
“He is working hard and he has talent and quality. He is great on the ball and moving between the lines. His goal was stunning.
“I want to make all the players feel important,” added Zidane, who faces his first full season in charge of the club after leading Real to the Champions League title in May, little more than four months after succeeding Rafael Benitez. I have a lot of quality players but they are all doing well, not just in attack, but at the back too, where we conceded few chances and kept a clean sheet.” — Reuters RIO DE JANEIRO — Police are blocking Ireland’s top four Olympic executives from leaving Brazil as their ticket scalping investigation expanded with a raid on the team on the final day of the Rio de Janeiro Games.
The Rio police force said it executed search warrants on Sunday to seize passports and evidence from Ireland team leader Kevin Kilty, chief executive Stephen Martin and secretary general Dermot Henihan, who are accused of illegally selling Olympic tickets.
The trio, whose phones and laptops were taken by police, agreed to present themselves for questioning by police today, the OCI said in an earlier statement.
The new development in the investigation came as Olympic Council of Ireland president Patrick Hickey, who is also a top Olympic official, remained in jail following his arrest last Wednesday.
Irish officials were preparing for the closing ceremony when the OCI said that early Sunday police arrived at its offices in the Olympic Village and external accommodation.
Unused official tickets were taken from the Irish office in the Olympic Village, which the OCI said were for athletes’ families and friends.
“We are continuing the investigation into the international scheme of ticket scalping,” Rio police said. “Agents are conducting investigations since this morning which will continue until Tuesday (today).”
Investigators say a company, Pro 10 Sports Management, was created to facilitate the transfer of tickets between the Irish Olympic committee and THG, an unauthorised ticket seller.
The investigation has been unfolding through the Olympics, with the first arrests made two weeks ago.
The highest-profile figure swept up by investigators is Hickey, the head of the umbrella organisation for Europe’s Olympic bodies. Hickey was due to be spending the closing ceremony of the Olympics on Sunday in Rio’s Bangu prison complex after his lawyers failed to secure his release on bail.
“Mr Hickey has been arrested due to suppositions that are not supported by any material evidence or proof of the alleged facts presented by the police,” Hickey’s lawyer, Arthur Lavigne, said in a statement.
“His arrest has no legal support. The investigation did not bring one single slight indication that Mr Hickey could be involved with the facts therein investigated, and his detention was required by the police authority under mere assumptions.” — globalnews