In a boost to Wales coach Chris Coleman before a crucial week of World Cup qualifiers, Real Madrid boss Zinedine Zidane has allayed fears over Gareth Bale’s injury, report BBC Sport.
After the 68-times capped Welshman was left out of Real Madrid’s squad for yesterday’s 2-0 win over Espanyol, which handed ‘Los Blancos’ their first home win of the season, there were concerns that Wales’ talisman could miss Friday and Monday’s key matches against Georgia and the Republic of Ireland.
But Zidane has explained that the decision to not play the 28-year-old yesterday was a precautionary move and that he could have played yesterday, and in news that will raise the spirits of Welsh fans, the 45-year old Madrid legend confirmed that Bale would be meeting up with his Wales teammates today.
“He will travel with his international team” the Frenchman said.
“He could have played with us (against Espanyol) but I preferred to leave him out as he had a small complaint”.
Explaining that Bale was ‘fine’ and had a hamstring strain which had been caused by wear and tear from a flurry of games at the start of the season as well as the four months of injury woe Bale suffered last season, he added:
“He’s fine. After so many games at the start of the season and four months of injury, he was suffering after the game in Dortmund.
“He strained his hamstring but in the end its nothing. It’s not an injury. I’ve spoken to him and the doctors”.
After a difficult start to the season which saw him booed by the home fans, Cardiff-born Bale has bounced back, scoring an amazing volley in his side’s 3-1 win away win over Borussia Dortmund in the Champions League last Tuesday.
Wales’ most valuable player, the men in red will need Bale, who has scored 26 times for his country since his debut in 2006, to fire this Friday in Tbilisi against Georgia and then in Cardiff next Monday against the Republic of Ireland.
Chris Coleman’s men, who are aiming to qualify for a first World Cup since 1958, currently lie in second place on 14 points, four points behind leaders Serbia and one point ahead of third-placed Republic of Ireland.
Even though they still have an outside chance of qualifying via top spot in the group, realistically their best hope of going to Russia lies in finishing second-place and earning one of the eight play-off spots for the four remaining berths for football’s showpiece event.
One thing is for sure: the inclusion of Bale for this week’s games is undoubtedly a huge boost to their qualifying chances.
Hefin Jones, Pundit Arena