REAL MADRID

Bale in Brugge but with one eye on the Clásico

Zidane’s plan is for Bale to start his recovery this Wednesday against Brugge so that the Welshman is 100-percent match-fit for the two crunch ties against Valencia and Barcelona.

Having trained normally for the second consecutive day, Gareth Bale is back in the Real Madrid squad for Wednesday evening’s game against Club Brugge after sitting out the 2-0 win over Espanyol at the weekend.

The Welshman had a slight twinge in his left thigh and, considering his long history of injuries, decided not to risk aggravating the issue by playing on Saturday.

Bale’s goal is to be 100-percent fit for the Clásico on 18 December as he knows it is a perfect opportunity for him to put the controversy surrounding the ‘Wales. Golf. Madrid’ flag firmly behind him.

A good performance against Barcelona could put a stop to the whistles and jeers that have plagued him at the Bernabéu over the past few weeks due to his decision to pose with the infamous flag after Wale’s win against Hungary in mid-November.

Gareth Bale takes part in a training session ahead of Wednesday's clash with Club Brugge.

Bale set to fill in for injured Hazard

With Eden Hazard injured, Zinedine Zidane knows he needs Bale at his best to face the upcoming games against Barcelona and Valencia, both of which are away.

The Cardiff-born player could partner with Karim Benzema up front (as Hazard has done) if Zidane opts for four a 4-4-2 system, with Isco in the midfield and Rodrygo and Vinicius on the wings.

The French coach’s plan is for Bale to start his recovery this Wednesday against Brugge so he is match-fit for the two crucial ties at Camp Nou and Mestalla. If he has travelled to Belgium with the squad, it is to play some part, either as a starter or in the second half.

Bale in action against Alavés.

Bale’s season at Real Madrid

Following his positive and constructive chat with Zidane after his China move fell through in the summer, Bale started the season well with two goals and three assists in the first three league games.

But since then the 30-year-old forward has once again found himself struggling for continuity – be it due to injury or coaching decisions. So far this season he has played a total of 708 minutes (39.3% of the total minutes available), and provided just two goals and two assists.