Madrid (AFP) – Gareth Bale will be kept in Madrid to work on his fitness rather than meeting up with the Wales squad for friendlies against France and Panama next week, Real Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane confirmed on Saturday.

Bale returned to training with the European champions this week after five weeks on the sidelines with a calf injury.

However, he will again miss out for Real’s La Liga clash at home to Las Palmas on Sunday and will remain in the Spanish capital despite being included in Wales boss Chris Coleman’s 24-man squad earlier this week

“He won’t be in the squad and he won’t go with his national team,” said Zidane.

“After 35 days with his injury, he has had two training sessions and we want him to stay here to be ready as soon as possible.”

Zidane is facing his first troubled time as Madrid coach after a spectacularly successful first 22 months in charge that have included back-to-back Champions League wins and last season’s La Liga title.

Real trail La Liga leaders Barcelona by eight points and lost 3-1 at Tottenham Hotspur in the Champions League in midweek.

However, just two weeks on from being crowned the best coach in the world by FIFA for Real’s success last season, Zidane insisted he was keeping a level head.

“I’m not the best coach in the world, people said I was and gave me this prize for the season we had and I accepted it,” added the Frenchman.

“Now I’m not the worst coach in the world either. I am always in the middle, not too high, not too low.

“Life is full of good days and bad days. What I and the players have to do is think positively.”