Real Madrid forward Gareth Bale suffers injury setback, set to miss Champions League clash
Madrid derby new target for Bale but Zidane will pick him only if he is 100% fit
Real Madrid were dealt a huge blow after it was confirmed that star forward Gareth Bale would not recover in time for the crucial Champions League Round of 16 match against Italian side AS Roma on Wednesday. The Wales international has reportedly suffered a setback as he recovers from a calf injury.
Bale had hobbled off the pitch in the first half of Los Blancos’ 5-1 win over Sporting Gijon. The club had said he had been diagnosed with ‘soleus muscle injury in his right leg’ but the initial diagnosis had said he would be out for three weeks, back in time for the Champions League clash at the Stadio Olimpico in Rome on 17 February.
Reports also suggested that the new Santiago Bernabeu pitch was responsible for Bale constantly injuring himself. The 26-year-old has injured himself only in home games and there appeared to be a compatibility issue between the pitch and the forward’s muscular makeup.
We need Bale to be 100% fit: Zidane
The new date for Bale’s possible return has now been set as 27 February – the day of the Madrid derby. Atletico Madrid make the short trip to the Bernabeu at the end of the month but Real Madrid manager Zinedine Zidane wanted the Welshman to make a full recovery before coming back into the squad.
“He needs time and we need to be patient,” Zidane explained. “We need Gareth to be 100% fit, not 80 per cent or 85 per cent.
“It's normal for a player to possibly relapse when he has a problem and we aren't going to take any risks with him. Bale felt some discomfort whilst he was recovering. We can't say why things happen and there's no point dwelling on Bale's injury.”
“There's nothing we can do. I'm not taking any risks if he's in any discomfort,” he concluded.
Bale had been in fine form this season, having scored 14 goals in all competitions. He also had 10 assists to his name this season.
No trust in Madrid’s club doctor?
Reports in 2015 suggested that the club’s players had lost confidence in club doctor, Doctor Olmo. Bale’s relapse has thrown another spanner in the works and the squad have reportedly lost confidence in the doctor.
Last year, Marca had reported that the squad had tried to keep their distance from the doctor and had even banned him from getting into the changing rooms at one point.