Real Madrid’s Gareth Bale and Luka Modric doubtful for Atletico return clash

Real Madrid forward Gareth Bale had to be substituted after just four minutes after injuring his left calf during the early stages of his side’s 3-1 victory over Malaga.

The Welshman was immediately replaced by Javier ‘Chicharito’ Hernandez, before being sent out for scans on his damaged leg.

While the official diagnosis will not be determined for the next 24-48 hours, the fear is Bale may have suffered a muscle tear to his left calf.

The Wales international was soon joined in the Real Madrid training room by midfielder Luka Modric, after the Croatian was substituted in the 59th minute after appearing to injure his right knee following a clash with Malaga midfielder Recio.

Modric was sidelined from mid-November until March after suffering an injury during international duty and has only played in a handful of matches for Real Madrid.

His return to the starting eleven had given the club a boost in recent weeks as they look to make a late charge towards a league and European title.

When asked if either player could be ruled out for the remainder of the season, Ancelotti attempted to put on a good face: “Modric has a knee problem and Bale [his] calf, but we can’t say anything just yet. We’ll evaluate them both in the coming days, but they’re not completely ruled out [for the rest of the season].”

The injuries to Bale and Modric couldn’t come at a worse time for Real Madrid, as they will begin preparations for Wednesday’s decisive second leg of the Champions League quarter-finals against Atletico Madrid tomorrow.

Real Madrid have not beaten their city rivals in seven meetings since claiming La Decima – their 10th European Cup – which included a 4-0 thumping in La Liga back in February.

Manager Carlo Ancelotti was already formulating a game plan for Wednesday’s pivotal match knowing he was going to be without the services of his world class left-back Marcelo (suspension). Now it appears the Italian tactician will have to shuffle his lineup once again in order to supplement for the losses of Bale and Modric in his attack.

In all likelihood, Ancelotti will start Isco in place of Modric, while electing to give the nod to either Chicharito or Jese to replace Gareth Bale against Atletico Madrid.

Striker Karim Benzema sat out today’s 3-1 win over Malaga, but is expected to return to the starting eleven on Wednesday.


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