Sergio Ramos’ sensational free-kick helped Real Madrid move back above Barcelona to the top of La Liga as it defeated Real Mallorca 2-0 on Wednesday.
Madrid’s victory at the Alfredo di Stefano Stadium means it is level again on points with Barcelona but sits above its title rival in the table due to a superior head-to-head record.
“There are seven finals left,” said Ramos. “There will be only one league in the year of coronavirus and we want to win it for the fans.”
Bale has been hardly used since La Liga resumed on June 11 but Zinedine Zidane continued his rotation policy and handed the Welshman his first start since February 16.
Yet an underwhelming display is unlikely to push Bale back into Zidane’s preferred eleven as Vinicius enhanced his case with another lively, if erratic, performance.
The Brazilian also hit the crossbar in the first half.
Ramos, though, stole the show with his brilliant freekick, taking his personal tally to a career-best eight goals for the season, after he became La Liga’s highest ever scoring defender on Sunday by scoring a penalty against Real Sociedad.
The only worry for Madrid was that Eden Hazard was taken off shortly after the hour, raising doubts over whether the Belgian is fully fit or completely confident in his troublesome ankle.
There was also time at the end for history to be made as Mallorca’s Luka Romero became the youngest player ever to play in La Liga, aged 15 years and 219 days.
Mallorca, which remains 18th in the table, always looked like one of Madrid’s more straight-forward assignments during the run-in, even if it claimed a stunning victory over it in October to put Zidane under serious pressure.
But his team has been transformed since then and after Barcelona made hard work of beating Athletic Bilbao on Tuesday night, this was another win to suggest the momentum is now with Madrid.
Bale tested Manolo Reina with an early shot from distance just after Karim Benzema was denied by Mallorca’s goalkeeper after being allowed to control at the back post.