Patience running out at Real Madrid over Bale injuries

The Welshman has featured in just 44% of the minutes played by Los Blancos this term, and is costing the Santiago Bernabéu outfit 750,000 euros a game
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Patience is starting to wear thin among senior figures at Real Madrid over Gareth Bale's constant injuries and lengthy periods of recuperation.

Indeed, a section of the Real hierarchy now feel Bale's brittle body is seeing him turn into the new Arjen Robben - the Dutchman's spell at the club was blighted by fitness issues - and are beginning to weigh up the option of selling the Welshman in the summer.

Since his arrival at Los Blancos in 2013, the 26-year-old has broken down 11 times and featured in only 8,620 minutes of a total of 13,590: just 63% of Madrid's first-team action.

And the percentage is even lower if the focus is narrowed to the current season, during which Bale has only been involved in 44% (1,265 of 2,880 minutes).

His least injury-hit campaign came last term, when the former Tottenham Hotpsur man appeared in 76% of the minutes played by Real (4,036 of 5,310), while in his maiden year at the Bernabéu he managed just 61% (3,319 of 5,400).

Taking into account the 100.7 million fee of his transfer from Spurs, plus his 18-million-euro gross salary, he is costing the club 750,000 euros per game.

And on top of that, Madrid's results show that the team do not struggle in Bale's absence, either: they have lost just once without him, in the penultimate week of the 2013-14 La Liga campaign.

Bale went off with a soleus muscle problem at home to Sporting Gijón in mid-January - while on his best run of form since moving to the Spanish capital - before suffering a relapse a fortnight ago, the calf complaint leaving boss Zinedine Zidane unable to call on his services in a key period of the season.

He has already missed the last six matches (against Real Betis, Espanyol, Granada, Athletic Club, Roma and Málaga), and all the indications are that he will also sit out this Saturday's Madrid derby with Atlético.