Santiago Solari has offered Gareth Bale no assurances of an automatic place in his Real Madrid side as the Welsh forward prepares to make his latest return from injury.
The 29-year-old has been absent for Los Blancos’ last six games after being forced off through injury at half time during a clash with Villareal in January. With Bale now set to feature once more, Solari has labelled Bale a ‘fantastic player.’
However, with Vinicius Junior among those to have featured in attack during Bale’s absence, Solari refused to guarantee an instant recall for the former Tottenham star against Espanyol on Sunday. The Madrid boss said, via Goal: “Football is always about the next game.
“We will see who plays tomorrow, then the following week.
“The players who are recovering, we want them at 100 per cent as soon as possible. Gareth is a very important player for us, a fantastic player, we are very happy to have him coming back.”
Despite suffering with injury troubles this season, Bale has managed to rack up 23 appearances for Los Blancos this term, scoring ten goals in the process.
The Welshman has been charged with assuming the seniority of Cristiano Ronaldo in attack, following the Portuguese’s departure to Juventus last summer, and former Madrid coach John Toshack has urged Bale to up his game in search of more goals.
“Cristiano [Ronaldo] plays as a winger, scores and sets up goals for others,” Toshack told AS. There’s no doubt that Gareth is one of the best players of all time.
“If he wants to continue there, he should try and copy what Cristiano does.
“If you look at what he’s achieved, it makes you wonder what he would have done if he hadn’t been so unlucky with injuries.”
Madrid travel to face Espanyol in La Liga on Sunday with Solari’s side looking to make up ground on leaders Barcelona, with Los Blancos currently fourth in the table.