Bale In Real Madrid Squad
Gareth Bale is expected to be on the Real Madrid substitutes’ bench for Saturday’s home game with Espanyol.
The Wales international hasn’t played since he picked up an ankle injury in the Champions League match with Sporting Lisbon on 22 November. It had been thought he would be out for up to four months but he is a month ahead of schedule and coach Zinedine Zidane hopes to give him a run-out against Espanyol.
“He is in the squad and our plan is for him to have some minutes,” Zidane said at a pre-match press conference on Friday.
“He is important for us as we know the quality he possesses, the speed he can unleash when in position and the pain he can cause opponents.
“He is very happy to be back with the team.”
The news will be a boost to Wales boss Chris Coleman who will hope Bale is fit for his side’s World Cup qualifier with the Reupblic Of Ireland next month.
Zidane Wants Morata To Stay
Meanwhile, Arsenal and Chelsea’s hopes of signing Real Madrid striker Alvaro Morata have taken a hit with the news that Zinedine Zidane wants him to stay at the club.
Reports from the Bernabeu have suggested that the 24-year-old could be on his way at the end of the season. Both Premier League clubs have been linked in the past. But Zidane announced at his press conference that Morata would be in the starting line-up for Saturday afternoon’s game.
He also made clear his hopes for the Spain international.
“I wouldn’t like him to leave at the end of the season,” Zidane said. “He will play from the start against Espanyol and I know that this won’t be the last time he plays from the start.
“We look at the circumstances of each match and each player. The staff know how many minutes each player has played and what we want from them all until the end of the season.”
Arsenal have twice been linked with Morata. In 2014 when he was initially sold by Real Madrid the Gunners looked set to clinch a deal until Real inserted a buyback clause into the transfer agreement. He went to Juventus but Real triggered the buyback clause last summer.
Chelsea were then linked when it looked as though Real might sell Morata. But he has been part of the La Liga side’s squad although Saturday’s start will be only his seventh league start of the season.
Morata got on the scoresheet in his last league outing – a 3-1 home victory over Real Sociedad when he came on as a second-half substitute. It was his 10th goal in 29 appearances for Real Madrid since his return last summer.