Wales superstar Gareth Bale can fill the void left by Cristiano Ronaldo’s departure, according to new Real Madrid boss Julen Lopetegui.
Ronaldo joined Juventus in July, ending a record-breaking nine-year spell in the Spanish capital.
Real’s only attacking reinforcement so far this summer has been 18-year-old Brazilian Vinicius Junior, but Bale – who had also been linked with an exit from the Bernabeu – has been backed to take on more responsibility this season.
The Welshman is being strongly linked with a move to Manchester United.
“Gareth is happy to play at Real Madrid,” Lopetegui said at a press conference in Miami.
“Cristiano Ronaldo is one of the main players in the recent history of Real Madrid. He expressed a desire to leave and we allowed him to.
“Gareth Bale is a magnificent player, with so many qualities. He can help fill the void.”
Bale came off the bench to score twice in Real’s Champions League final win against Liverpool in May.
The Wales forward has lifted European football’s biggest prize four times since joining Real in 2013.