Gareth Bale is fit and will feature at some point in this weekend's La Liga clash between Real Madrid and Villarreal, Carlo Ancelotti confirmed on Friday.
The Madrid boss was unable to guarantee his most valuable asset a starting role at the weekend, but he did state Bale had done enough in training to prove he is ready to debut, per Eurosport:
I think everyone knows his pre-season was not normal but his physical condition is not bad.
I don't know if he will start but he will play some of the match. He is very excited and very motivated.
Life as a Galactico is fast-paced, particularly if you are the most expensive superstar in Madrid’s collection.
Gareth Bale is training. How is this still news? Just give the man his own TV channel and get it over with.— Michael Vaughan (@Mike_Vaughan) September 13, 2013
Bale has already done a photoshoot for Real’s new away kit and held a meeting with Ancelotti to discuss tactics, all while squeezing vital training sessions into his schedule. He says he’ll be ready for the weekend trip to Villarreal, according to Pete Jenson of the Daily Mail:
It wasn't the best to go away on international duty but I'm back now and have had two good sessions. I'm feeling good physically. I'm a little bit behind everyone else but I won't take long to catch up.
All talk emerging from Spain had suggested Bale would make his debut at left-back, following injuries to Marcelo and Fabio Coentrao. That will not be the case, according to Ancelotti, who will play Nacho Fernandez among the back four, with Bale further forward.
In the pre-match media conference, the Italian claimed his plan was to use Bale at right wing, per BBC Sport.
Ancelotti has already spoken to Bale about his role at the club, and the speedster has had the chance to tell the Italian where he can do the most damage to the opposition, per Jenson of the Daily Mail:
I have spoken to the boss about how I feel and now we will wait to find out if I am picked for the game. I have spoken to the boss about where I'm best on the pitch but I will play anywhere I'm asked.
When all players are fit, it is anticipated that Bale will function in an explosive attack featuring Cristiano Ronaldo and Karim Benzema. Madrid will play with pace and athleticism, hoping to transition rapidly between defence and attack in order to expose over-committed defences.
Ronaldo and Bale are not likely to play as orthodox wingers, though. Ancelotti has promised the Portuguese a more central role in the side, per Sky Sports, and it is expected the pair will operate behind Benzema, free to wreak havoc where instinct dictates.
Bale has certainly been impressed by his first encounter with Ronaldo, whose attitude towards the Welshman had been questioned prior to his arrival. Darren Lewis of the Daily Mirror quoted Bale as saying:
It was amazing. He’s a nice guy, he made me feel welcome just like everybody else did, they made me feel settled straight away and I’m just looking forward to getting on the pitch and doing well.
Projected Real Madrid Lineup versus Villarreal:
Goalkeepers: Casillas, Diego Lopez and Jesus
Defenders: Pepe, Ramos, Carvajal, Nacho and Llorente
Midfielders: Khedira, Bale, Casemiro, Modric, Di Maria, Isco, Illarra and Jose Rodriguez
Forwards: Cristiano Ronaldo, Benzema, Morata and Jese