Gareth Bale seems to be a reborn man at Real Madrid following summer speculations about his future at the club, with coach Zinedine Zidane making it clear that he was not part of his plans.
The Frenchman publicly admitted that the 30-year-old should find a new club before the new season, and came close to completing a lucrative deal to the Chinese Super League only for the club to make a u-turn with the deal moments away from completion.
With the Welsh international not leaving, Zidane was forced to draft him into his team, and surprisingly has delivered with two goals and an assist in four La Liga outings for Madrid so far.
In addition to the goals, Bale's attitude has improved and is by far one of the club's top performers despite new arrivals including Belgian attacker Eden Hazard.
His form has led to Zidane changing his earlier stance on the former Spurs man, underlining his importance ahead of Wednesday's match against Osasuna.
"Bale's really focused, same as the rest. He wants to do great, he's in a good moment. He's an important player and he knows he's a great player," he said.
"He helps when we attack and when we defend, as he did in the last game. When everyone is committed, we can do great things," he added.
Madrid are unbeaten in La Liga this term and will go atop the standings with a home win against Osasuna.
They are currently second behind surprise leaders Granada, who beat Barcelona last weekend and have the advantage of a match at hand.
With Eden Hazard yet to hit the ground, Zidane will be forced to rely on Bale and Benzema as his attacking weapons, and hope to steady a ship that was recently rocked by a 3-0 defeat at the hands of PSG in the Champions League.