REAL MADRID

Real Madrid's Bale set for return after 51 day absence

Gareth Bale still has unfinished business in the 2015/16 Champions League as Real Madrid face AS Roma this evening at the Bernabeu.

AStv

Gareth Bale returns to the Real Madrid starting XI tonight. 51 days have passed since the Welsh player lined out for his side when he started in January’s game at home to Sporting Gijon. During the game problems in his calf forced the Cardiff born player to miss eight matches (one Champions League game and seven LaLiga fixtures). Last Saturday he came on for the last 24 minutes of the home game against Celta Vigo scoring in the process and demonstrating that he is back to full fitness.

Bale is anxious to transform his previous league form to the Champions League. Before falling to his injury problem, the Welshman was on a great run, scoring 11 goals in eight games. To date this season Bale has found the net on 14 occasions playing in just 16 games. He has yet to score in the Champions League despite two assists in Lviv against Shakthar.

Since his arrival at the Spanish club in 2003 his from in the Champions League has been a mixed bag. Last year the player only struck two goals (in games against FC Basel and Ludogorets) in ten matches. A poor return compared to his league statistics. Bale’s most important Champions League goal is no doubt his 110th minute strike in Lisbon that helped overcome city rivals Atletico Madrid in securing the anxiously awaited tenth European cup for the side.

Injuries have not been kind to the 26 year old since his arrival in the Spanish capital. 11 setbacks in three seasons have seen the player become a source of frustration for a sector of the Bernabeu as well as certain board members doubting the value of the player with some going so far as to tout him as the ‘new Robben’ and would look to sell the player come season end. This proposal is far from Florentino Pérez’s mindset who has always backed the Welsh player since his arrival in Madrid and whose current expires at the end of the 2019 season.