Soccer

Ancelotti to hand Bale debut

2013-09-13 15:01
Gareth Bale (AFP)

Madrid - Coach Carlo Ancelotti has given Real Madrid fans two things to celebrate on Friday.

The Italian manager said Gareth Bale will make his debut for his new club at Villarreal on Saturday, and goalkeeper Iker Casillas will get his first start since midway through last season on Tuesday in Madrid's Champions League opener.

"Bale doesn't have any injuries, he is in good health, excited and motivated.

"He will play against Villarreal," Ancelotti said.

He said Bale will play "on the right," likely meaning Cristiano Ronaldo will shift inwards.

He said he hadn't decided if Bale will start or play as a substitute.

Ancelotti added that Tottenham had received offers from other clubs greater than the world record €100 million Madrid paid to secure the transfer of the Welsh winger.

"I know that Tottenham had offers superior to Real Madrid's," he said.

"I don't know what was paid, but I know they had a greater offer.

"The desire the player had to come here made the difference."

Bale made his first appearance this season as a substitute for Wales on Tuesday.

"(Bale) missed the preseason, but it's not the moment to train away from the team.

"He will train and play at the same time," Ancelotti said.

"He isn't in top form, but his fitness isn't bad."

Ancelotti also said fellow new signing Asier Illarramendi was fit and will make his debut in the midfield.

Casillas hasn't started for Madrid since he was benched by former coach Jose Mourinho last season.

Ancelotti has maintained Diego Lopez as Madrid's starter through its first three Spanish league games, and it appears Lopez will also start at Villarreal on Saturday.

While not confirming that Casillas will be his set starter in the Champions League, Ancelotti said he will at least be his keeper at Galatasaray in Turkey on Tuesday.

"On Tuesday, Casillas will play, so that issue can quiet down," Ancelotti said.

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