- La Liga
Ancelotti confirms Bale to return for Real
Real Madrid coach Carlo Ancelotti says Gareth Bale does not have a serious problem with his back, and is set to play a part in Saturday's La Liga game against Malaga at the Bernabeu.
While Bale remains less than 100% fit following his lack of a full pre-season last summer, he returned to full training with his team-mates on Wednesday and looks set for a place on the bench at least.
The Italian coach echoed president Florentino Perez's opinion that Marca's recent claim the former Tottenham man was suffering from a slipped disc which required an operation to fix was just plain false, when speaking with reporters at Madrid's pre-match press conference on Friday.
"It was a surprise as it is not the truth," he said. "Bale does not have a problem - it is just that he did not do a good pre-season and is not fully fit. If he had a slipped disk he could not have played over 100 games in the last four seasons.
"I have three 'protrusions' in my back, and I have never had a problem with that in my career. It is normal - many players have it without it affecting their performance. His problem is just the pre-season, he arrived without good condition, but he is training well and he is available, maybe for the full game or part of the game. I want to give him some minutes tomorrow as he needs to play."
Also likely among the substitutes for Saturday's game will be Iker Casillas, who said this week that he would consider leaving Madrid in January should he not play more. Ancelotti said he would look to talk to the long serving goalkeeper about the matter, but had so far had had no issues with the club captain.
"Casillas is a great keeper, very professional and behaving very well to help the team," he said. "Although he does not play all the games, he is acting like a captain. I hope he remains here with us as he is a very important player for the atmosphere [within the squad]. We need to speak with Iker, because it is good to talk and understand what is happening. But that is a private conversation, he has said nothing to me personally."
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