Benitez: I like Gareth Bale at No.10

Real Madrid head coach Rafael Benitez believes Gareth Bale has the ability to play as a number 10 after using the Welsh star in a central role against AS Roma in Melbourne on Saturday.

Bale was deployed behind striker Jese Rodriquez instead of his usual wing position during Madrid's uninspiring penalty shootout loss at the Melbourne Cricket Ground - the Spanish giants' first game of pre-season and their debut under Benitez.

Wales international Bale was Los Blancos' brightest spark in what was an otherwise impotent display, and Benitez hinted he will continue to experiment with the position of his star forwards as he looks to breathe new life into a squad that failed to capture any major silverware last season, with the FIFA Club World Cup and UEFA Super Cup mere consolation prizes.

Gareth Bale

"It's an idea, it's an option," the former Liverpool, Valencia and Napoli boss said when asked about whether he planned to use Bale as a No. 10 in the future.

"Obviously, he can play different positions (in the final third). This one is an option and I like this option if he can do well."

Italians triumph in shoot-out

After watching bitter rivals Barcelona claim a memorable treble last campaign, the pressure is on Benitez to bring success back to Estadio Santiago Bernabeu.

Bale was the subject of intense scrutiny from Madrid fans for periods of the 2014-15 campaign after developing a perceived rivalry with Portuguese superstar Cristiano Ronaldo.

However, by pushing Ronaldo out wide and entrusting Bale with a playmaking role in his first outing in charge, Benitez may have heralded the prospect of a potential shift in the balance of power during his tenure.