Updated Player Power Rankings

Messi Living Up to Majestic No. 10

Gareth Bale Returns to Fitness but Shouldn't Be Risked Against Malaga

Use your ← → (arrow) keys to browse more stories
Gareth Bale Returns to Fitness but Shouldn't Be Risked Against Malaga

Since making his £86 million move from Tottenham Hotspur to Real Madrid, Gareth Bale has received more attention in the press than minutes on the pitch.

A long, drawn-out transfer saga over the summer saw the Welshman take no part in any form of preseason friendlies for Spurs, and after sealing his switch on the penultimate day of the transfer window, be plagued by niggles and cramps to his body.

Early controversies, summised by Goal.com, cropped up when Spanish daily Marca reported Bale had a slipped disc in his back and originally failed his Madrid medical. Following the standard agent rubbishing of those rumours, the Welshman spent the international break working hard on his physical fitness and shape.

Now, according to The Guardian, Bale is back in regular training with los Merengues and could play some part, if not all, of the home tussle with Malaga this Saturday.

While Carlo Ancelotti will view this news as a welcome boost, there's absolutely no need to rush Bale back into the squad to face a los Boquerones side who are yet to win away from home.

The club was ransacked by outgoing transfers this summer, losing the likes of Isco (to Real Madrid), Martin Demichelis, Joaquin and Manuel Iturra.

David Ramos/Getty Images

They're in full-on rebuilding mode, a club without identity or spine, and on paper it's hardly the sort of fixture you're going to rush a star player back for.

If los Blancos were struggling at home, it might be a different story. However, Madrid derby aside, they've been stellar at homewinning three, scoring nine and conceding just four.

The three sides they've beaten—Real Betis, Athletic Club and Getafe—are all either top-half opposition or contenders for Europe this season. With Cristiano Ronaldo already on seven league goals, Isco on four and Angel Di Maria in blistering form (in place of Bale), there is simply no need to cram the Welshman into the starting XI.

Perhaps the bigger story is Isco facing his former club for the first time since sealing a move to the Bernabeu early this summer. Despite spending just two seasons with the club between 2011 and 2013, Malaga felt it necessary to retire his No. 22 shirt, as per AS.

His 2012-13 campaign with the Andalusian club launched his career, starring in the UEFA Champions League as the team came within minutes of reaching the quarterfinals at Borussia Dortmund's expense.

Ancelotti will see Bale's return to training as a positive, but perhaps more for the reduced interest in the Welshman's thigh as opposed to actually using him in his XI.

 

Load More Stories
Transfer News

Subscribe Now

We will never share your email address

Thanks for signing up.