Real Madrid winger Gareth Bale is battling for fitness ahead of tomorrow’s Champions League match at Liverpool after the club announced he is suffering from a buttock muscle injury.
The 25-year-old Wales star was an unused substitute in Saturday’s Primera Division win over Levante on his return from international duty, while reports in Spain said he also sat out training yesterday.
That raised doubts over Bale’s availability for the trip to Anfield, as well as this weekend’s El Clasico with Barcelona, although Madrid have said for now they will keep an eye on the player.
A statement on the club’s website read: “After tests carried out on by the Real Madrid Sanitas medical services, he has been diagnosed with a muscular injury in the right pyramidalis muscle. His progress will be monitored.”
Bale played the full 90 minutes in both of Wales’ Euro 2016 qualifiers against Bosnia-Herzegovina and Cyprus.
Madrid will be defending their 100 per cent record in Champions League Group B at Liverpool, who have won one and lost one so far.
Bale’s absence will not lessen Real’s attacking potency with the free-scoring Cristiano Ronaldo set to take centre stage.
“There’s no doubt that Cristiano is the best player in the world at the moment,” said defender Alvaro Arbeloa. “He is a great professional and a player who improves every day. No-one can imagine what he does. Training and playing with him helps you to grow and improve.”
The Portugal international arrives on the back of breaking at 71-year La Liga record by scoring 15 goals in the first eight matches of the season and while his talent cannot be under-estimated, Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers stressed it would be foolish to focus solely on him.
“He’s a player off the charts. His evolution in recent years, the way how he has become a goalscorer has been amazing,” Rodgers said. “We need to know to stop him but there is danger in other parts of the field. You have (Luka) Modric, (Toni) Kroos – wonderful technicians who can play short, long. I’m also a big admirer of Sergio Ramos since his young days at Sevilla.
“They have amazing talents all over the field and they have the technique to play in small spaces and when the space opens up there is no one better on the counter-attack in Ronaldo and Bale because, they are two players that could be in the Olympic 100 metres final.”