Bale shines in Ronaldo's absence as Madrid prepare perfectly for Juventus

This was perhaps the ideal fixture for Real Madrid. In the build-up to the game, Las Palmas boss Paco Jemez described his side as "the worst team I have ever coached". For Zinedine Zidane's men, it was the best possible preparation for their match against Juventus.

Madrid drew home and away against Las Palmas last season in La Liga. This term, though, the Canary Islanders find themselves in a perilous position in the table and started the weekend in the relegation zone, six points adrift of 17th-placed Levante.

For Real, 15 points behind Barcelona with nine fixtures remaining, winning the Primera Division is impossible now. So the Champions League takes priority and with a trip to Turin to face Juventus in the quarter-finals on Tuesday, Zidane made his intentions clear with sweeping changes to his line-up.

Cristiano Ronaldo, Sergio Ramos, Marcelo and Toni Kroos were all left out of the squad altogether by the French coach, while Dani Carvajal missed the game through suspension and Isco missed out with a knock.

There were starting spots for Gareth Bale and Karim Benzema, along with Marco Asensio, Lucas Vazquez and Luka Modric in what was still a strong side, with Theo Hernandez and Jesus Vallejo in for rare starts.

Zidane has preferred 4-4-2 in recent times with Asensio and Lucas in the team for the vital victory at Paris Saint-Germain in the last round of the Champions League. Both Kroos and Modric started that game at the Parc des Princes on the bench, although the two had only just returned from injury.

It was Modric who set up Bale for Madrid's first on Saturday, a delightful pass from the Croatian midfielder finding Bale on the left flank and the Welsh winger charging forward to confidently convert. Assisted and scored by the former Spurs pair, it was very much a goal made in Tottenham.

Bale's run and fine finish also highlighted how effective he can be when given the space to attack and, in particular, when Ronaldo is absent. The 28-year-old often seems a different player when Cristiano is not in the team.

Las Palmas Real Madrid score

Benzema, captain in his 400th appearance for Real, then swept home a penalty after a foul on Lucas, before Bale added another from 12 yards out after winning the spot-kick himself.

The Welshman's stock may have fallen somewhat this term, especially given the recent emergence of both Asensio and Lucas, but he is a man on form. A hat-trick against China saw him become his nation's all-time top goalscorer during the recent international break and he was impressive again in this one.

He looks to be an outsider for a starting spot in Turin, while Zidane must decide whether Kroos and Modric (withdrawn after an hour for a well-earned rest) can both feature from the outset. If he wants 4-4-2 with wingers, however, the answer is probably no.

But while Juventus had to play a virtually full-strength side on Saturday night in a big match against AC Milan, Zidane's side cruised to a 3-0 victory with many of their team rested. Apart from an injury to Nacho, amazingly the first of his career, this was perfect preparation for Tuesday's game.