Benitez expects Bale to be fit for Wales duty



Real Madrid boss Rafael Benitez has said he is optimistic that Welsh star Gareth Bale could just be sidelined for two weeks by an injury to his left calf.

Bale hobbled off after just half an hour of Madrid’s 4-0 win over Shakhtar Donetsk on Tuesday with fears that he could miss the next month of action.

That would rule the 26-year-old out of the Madrid derby against Atletico on October 4, as well as Wales’ final two Euro 2016 qualifiers against Bosnia and Herzegovina and Andorra.

Thanks to Bale’s six goals, Wales are on the verge of qualifying for their first major international tournament since 1958.

And Benitez said he wouldn’t try to prevent Bale joining up with his international teammates if he has recovered in time.

“I don’t know if it will be two or three weeks. It is a small injury not a serious one and it appears from last year that he recovers quickly.

“We are optimistic. If the player is fit to go with the national team there is little you can do apart from the normal conversations with the national team managers.

“The most important thing is that Gareth recovers as quickly as possible.”

Benitez also refused to be drawn into reacting to comments made by his former captain at Liverpool Steven Gerrard.

In the serialisation of his new book, Gerrard praised Benitez’s tactical prowess, but claimed he always had a frosty relationship with the Spaniard during their six years together at Anfield.

“Steven is a phenomenon and as respect to Liverpool and the fans I will let it pass,” said Benitez.

“My relationship with him was very good, he scored many goals for us and helped us win many games so I can only say good things about him.”

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