'It had to be him!': Isco inspires Real Madrid to get Zidane's 2nd reign off to winning start
The much maligned Isco was included in the starting Xi for the first time since October, and repaid the faith of his former and current boss by netting the first goal of the game in a sunny Spanish capital.
After 45 minutes in the game against Celta, the two sides canceled each other our. Karim Benzema did put the ball in the back of the net but the whistle had been blown for a foul by Gareth Bale in the buildup.
Replays showed he had indeed elbowed Celta defender Kevin Vazquez, and the Welshman was duly booked.
In the end it was Isco who opened the scoring, a wonderful through ball from Marco Asensio set free Benzema on the left, who squared the ball across the box for the diminutive Spaniard to slot home on 63 minutes.
It was something of redemption for the midfielder, as fans had blamed former manager Santiago Solari for misusing the player out of position during his reign.
Of course it had to be Isco who scores the first goal after Solari is gone 😂— OMAR. (@Omaaar96) March 16, 2019
Isco was subbed for Ceballos & run to the touchline. Not discouraged nor indifferent. Like a team player should after putting in a shift.— M•A•J (@Ultra_Suristic) March 16, 2019
Finally we hire an actual manager again and players like Isco, Marcelo, Asensio & co who were labelled frauds or finished are suddenly balling again. Imagine my shock?— Ryan. (@Rygista) March 16, 2019
Solari watching isco's goal and marcelo's assist pic.twitter.com/4IqWQ9ruG1— amna (@Ohhmyisco) March 16, 2019
Bale, who had been outstanding for Real for the majority of the match, then doubled the hosts' lead a quarter of an hour later by finishing with his weaker right foot off the post after dribbling inside the area.
With the win, Real keep the heat on city rivals Atletico in second place, sitting just two points behind Diego Simeone's side having played a game more, although they still trail league leaders Barcelona by nine points.
Zidane's return to the Bernabeu comes just just 10 months after departing the Real hotseat after leading the Spanish giants to three straight UEFA Champions League titles.