Chris Coleman claims that Gareth Bale is ÔÇ£dangerously lowÔÇØ on fitness after warning Real Madrid they will be taking a ÔÇ£big riskÔÇØ with the world-record signing if the ┬ú85ÔÇëmillion midfielder is rushed into action for the club this weekend.
Bale is expected to make his Real debut against Villarreal at El Madrigal on Saturday evening after he made a 32-minute substitute appearance for Wales in their 3-0 World Cup qualifying defeat by Serbia on Tuesday.
The former Tottenham Hotspur player had been a doubt for the Serbia clash after undergoing a scan on a groin strain on Monday.
Despite banishing concerns of a possible injury lay-off by appearing for Wales, manager Coleman insists that Bale is still some distance from full fitness and vulnerable to further setbacks.
ÔÇ£If Gareth starts at the weekend, he wonÔÇÖt finish the game,ÔÇØ Coleman said. ÔÇ£IÔÇÖd be amazed if he does. We have looked at him over the last 10 days and heÔÇÖs nowhere near ready to complete 90 minutes. Spanish football is slower, but itÔÇÖs a big risk.
“He may start, on the back of 30 minutes against Serbia and three or four training sessions with us, and he may get 45 minutes, I donÔÇÖt know. But he has only had four training sessions in two months and thatÔÇÖs dangerous.ÔÇØ
Bale flew from Cardiff to Madrid on Wednesday to begin preparations for the LaÔÇë ÔÇëLiga fixture on Saturday, but Coleman believes there were obvious signs in the playerÔÇÖs performance against Serbia that he remains short of the sharpness required at the top level.
ÔÇ£When he came on against Serbia, you could see after 15 minutes that he looked tired,ÔÇØ Coleman said. ÔÇ£He didnÔÇÖt have that burst of pace that he normally has, but you wouldnÔÇÖt expect him to.ÔÇØ
Meanwhile, sources close to the Football Association of Wales have confirmed that the organisation is under no financial pressure to increase the insurance covering Bale following his transfer to Real.
National associations have pre viously been forced to compensate clubs in the event of players being injured while on international duty, raising the prospect of Wales being hit hard by any potential injury sustained by Bale.
The FAW is, however, covered by FifaÔÇÖs Club Protection Programme which funds compensation to clubs should a player be injured on international duty.