Gareth Bale expected to miss Champions League semis for Real Madrid after Clasico injury

Telegraph Sport
Real Madrid's Gareth Bale holds his leg after getting injured during a Spanish La Liga soccer match between Real Madrid and Barcelona, dubbed 'el clasico', at the Santiago Bernabeu stadium in Madrid, Spain, Sunday, April 23, 2017. (AP Photo/Daniel Ochoa de Olza) - Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

Real Madrid winger Gareth Bale looks set to miss the Champions League semi-final against city rivals Atletico after tests revealed he has a tear to his left calf.

The 27-year-old Wales international lasted just 35 minutes of Sunday's El Clasico defeat to Barcelona before limping off the Bernabeu pitch.

A short statement from Madrid confirmed the extent of Bale's injury, saying: "Following the tests carried out on Gareth Bale by the Sanitas Medical Services, the player has been diagnosed with a grade 2 injury in his left calf.

"His recovery will continue to be assessed."

Reports in Spain say Bale is now facing three weeks on the sidelines, which would rule him out of both legs of the Champions League tie - on May 2 and 10 - as well as LaLiga fixtures against Deportivo La Coruna, Valencia and Granada.

Bale was on the losing side at the Bernabeu Credit: AP

It is the latest blow in what has been a frustrating campaign for the former Tottenham man, who has been struck down by several injuries, including a three-month lay-off earlier this season with an ankle problem.

Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane, meanwhile, has defended himself against criticism that Bale was rushed back into the starting line-up too soon, having only recently returned to training following another muscle injury.

The Frenchman told a press conference to preview Wednesday's league clash with Deportivo: "He was 100 per cent fit, he told me. Before the match everything was fine and he was training normally.

Bale leaves the field of play after Barcelona Credit: AP

"These things cannot be avoided. He wants to play and when you have a very long injury lay-off it is difficult, I know from experience. The recovery time is not the same.

"There are other annoying niggles and this is what is happening to him now. It is minor and we expect him to come back swiftly."

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