According to a report via RealMadrid.com, Gareth Bale has a lingering left hamstring injury that has forced him out of the Champions League home game between Real Madrid and FC Copenhagen. This is the latest chapter in a book of injuries that have plagued the Welsh superstar.
While it may be tempting to return as soon as possible, Bale needs to take the necessary time to cure his injury woes.
Real Madrid acquired Bale for a record £86 million from Tottenham Hotspur, instantly garnering the hype of being the next superstar in world football. Already warranting attention for his production in the Premier League, Bale inevitably faced a mountain of expectations.
Unfortunately, injuries have played a major role in Bale's tenure in La Liga.
Bale missed what was supposed to be his home debut during a league match against Getafe due to a thigh injury, per BBC. This comes after Bale suffered a string of injuries to his lower-leg during the early years of his career.
Bale suffered a severe ankle injury that required him to be stretchered off of the field as recently as April of 2013, per Jeremy Wilson of The Telegraph. He also suffered a groin strain while still with Tottenham in September of 2013, per The Guardian.
Should Gareth Bale play if he's injured?
Now, the same issues that plagued him in the Premier League have followed him into La Liga.
Due to the obscene amount of money that Los Blancos spent on Bale, it's going to be difficult for him to justify an extended leave. Not only is Real Madrid expecting instant results, but with the price it paid, Los Blancos are bound to be seeking a superstar performance with every passing game.
No one will deny his skill or promise, but until he's 100 percent, Bale will have trouble living up to those expectations.
Bale, 24, is a young enough player for fans and critics to claim that he can fight through injuries and still play at a high level. The Welsh winger has as much scoring prowess as anyone in the world and is beyond capable of working his way through even the best of defensive units.
If you don't believe the hype, ESPN FC reports that some of the best in the world have offered high-praise for the dynamic youngster.
"[Figo] said to me, 'Bale is just amazing, amazing'," Redknapp said. "When Figo says that, it's got to be good, because he was such a fantastic footballer. He said, 'He killed us twice'."
"He's now one of our best players, every week he's strong and everyone's scared of him,'' [teammate Rafael] Van der Vaart said. "Tonight he's up against Maicon, one of the best defenders in the world, and he's killed him. To everyone, the whole club, we need to keep this guy.''
That was three years ago—you don't have to be an avid follower to know Bale has made tremendous progression.
Bale has the size, at 6'0", and the technical prowess to become one of the best players on Real Madrid's roster. With Cristiano Ronaldo helping to alleviate defensive pressure, he should have no trouble working his magic offensively.
Until he's healthy, it won't matter what he's capable of.
Bale has a long history of injuries to his lower extremities, and there's no reason for him to return until the ailments are entirely cured. It's then, and only then, that Bale will be able to put forth the type of effort that Real Madrid demands.
It's not ideal for fans who want an instant reward for Los Blancos' gamble, but in the long-haul, resting until fully healthy is the best possible decision for Bale to make.