Gareth Bale has been ruled out of Real Madrid’s Champions League match against FC Copenhagen on Wednesday night due to a thigh problem.
The world’s most expensive player was left out of Carlo Ancelotti’s 21-man squad for the match at the Santiago Bernabéu after training apart from his team-mates on Tuesday afternoon in the club’s gym.
A statement on the Real Madrid website confirmed Bale was struggling with a thigh problem and would undergo tests on Wednesday.
The statement read: “Gareth Bale has not trained with the group due to muscular discomfort in the left thigh. The diagnosis is subject to further tests tomorrow.”
Bale missed the trip to Elche last Wednesday with “muscle fatigue” in the same thigh after feeling a tweak during the warm-up ahead of the match against Getafe on Sept 22, which prevented the 24-year-old from making his home debut for Madrid in that game.
However, he did make his first Bernabeu appearance during Saturday’s derby with Atletico Madrid, where he played the whole of the second half in the 1-0 loss.
That was Bale’s third appearance for the Spanish giants since his record-breaking €100 million (£86 million) signing from Tottenham Hotspur. He only played 45 minutes in pre-season with Spurs, plus half an hour for Wales in a World Cup qualifier against Serbia.
He then played 60 minutes on his Madrid debut against Villarreal, where he scored his side’s opening goal in a 2-2 draw, and also featured as a second-half substitute in the Champions League win at Galatasaray before the Getafe match.
Meanwhile, new Galatasaray coach Roberto Mancini admitted that signing for the Turkish club only two days before their Champions League match with Group B opponents Juventus could be a baptism of fire.
Juventus host the Turkish champions on Wednesday night when both sides will be looking to overcome opening-day setbacks: Juve drew 1-1 away with FC Copenhagen while Real Madrid trounced Galatasaray 6-1 in Istanbul.
As he prepares for his first match as a manager since being sacked by Manchester City after a FA Cup final defeat against Wigan Athletic in May, Mancini said: “Of course it’s a handicap to take charge of the squad a day before the game.
“I really haven’t had time to see the players on the pitch but they know each other well and have been playing for a long time together.”
Having coached Carlos Tevez, now at Juventus but a doubt for the match due to an ankle injury, Mancini knows all about coaching players with difficult personalities. Tevez famously refused to come on as a substitute against Bayern Munich in September 2011, leading to a feud which effectively left the Argentinian unable to play any club football until his return in February 2012.
Mancini, who led Inter Milan to three back-to-back Serie A titles before taking over City in 2009, said there would be no hard feelings. “I look forward to seeing Tevez again, because apart from the time he took a holiday we always had a good relationship. We won three trophies together and I’ve always thought he’s a great player.”
Meanwhile, Greenpeace activists forced a stoppage in the tie between Basle and Schalke as they protested against the German club’s sponsor Gazprom.
The match was stopped while the activists were removed from the stadium, but was restarted after order was restored.
The protest was focused on trying to stop Russian energy company Gazprom from polluting the Arctic, as well as the campaign by Greenpeace to free the 30 protesters who were put behind bars for a peaceful protest against dangerous oil drilling.
In a statement released by Greenpeace, the organisation said: “The Arctic is in danger: Gazprom wants to drill for oil in the icy waters. An oil spill is only a matter of time.”