International

Bale to start at weekend

2014-11-05 13:14
Gareth Bale (AFP)

Barcelona - Real Madrid winger Gareth Bale will return to the starting line-up this weekend against Rayo Vallecano after the Welshman successfully played the final 30 minutes against Liverpool on Tuesday, coach Carlo Ancelotti said.

Bale showed no signs of the muscle injury that had kept him out for a month, looking lively down the right wing and he also struck the woodwork as Real cruised past Liverpool and booked a place in the Champions League last 16 with a 1-0 win.

Real are in devastating form and notched up their 12th straight win meaning they are now three shy of the club's record run, achieved by Miguel Munoz's 1960-61 team and under Jose Mourinho in 2011-12.

"Bale did well. He played 30 minutes and was fine," Ancelotti told reporters in Madrid. "I thought it was too soon for him to start. Saturday he will play the game."

Bale missed five games for Real during which Isco impressed and it raised the question whether the Wales winger would win his place back.

Isco had a difficult first season at the club following a move from Malaga but looked sharp with his movement and link-up play especially with Cristiano Ronaldo.

He and Bale offer different qualities with Isco possessing strong technique and vision while the British player's virtues lie in his power and pace.

"My career is only just starting and I have a lot of objectives," Isco told reporters. "The team is more united than ever and we will try and keep our winning run going."

Meanwhile, Ronaldo faced Liverpool having scored in his last 12 games but could not find the net against the Premier League side and remained one short of Raul's record of 71 goals in the Champions League.

"I don't think the problem was that he was worried about scoring," said Ancelotti. "He was involved in the game and did well. We were not talking about records or anything like that.

"There wasn't that much space and he linked up well, he will score in the next match.

"What is most important for me is how well the team plays and to prepare the games.

"The players are motivated and the records like that of the number of victories are not important for us."

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