Bale, Ronaldo out of Gijon trip


Madrid (AFP) – Gareth Bale will miss Real Madrid’s trip to Sporting Gijon on Saturday and faces a race against time to be fit for Real’s Champions League quarter-final second leg against Bayern Munich on Tuesday.

Bale had to be replaced for the final half hour of Madrid’s 2-1 win in Munich on Wednesday after aggravating an ankle injury that saw him miss nearly three months earlier this season.

The Welshman is just one of seven first team regulars not included in Zinedine Zidane’s squad with Cristiano Ronaldo and Karim Benzema also rested.

“He will not be with us tomorrow, that is clear, after that we will see,” Zidane said on Friday.

“It is a muscular problem, it is where he had his operation.

“When he started to play again it has bothered him.

“It is true that I am concerned. I don’t like to see my players injured and even more so in the final straight of the season.”

As in recent away games at Eibar and Leganes, Zidane is backing the strength in depth of his squad to get the job done with the second leg against Bayern in mind.

Goalkeeper Keylor Navas is also rested, whilst Dani Carvajal is suspended and central defensive duo Pepe and Raphael Varane miss out due to injury.

Real have made a positive start to a huge April with Barcelona also visiting the Santiago Bernabeu next weekend.

Zidane’s men have opened up a three-point lead over Barca at the top of the table and have a game still in hand.

Meanwhile, they remain on course to become the first team to retain the Champions League in 27 years.

“I think it is the DNA of this club, the more difficult the matches, the more the players respond,” added Zidane.

“We are all happy when the end of the season arrives with important matches.”

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