Villarreal CF v Real Madrid CF - La Liga

Gareth Bale “doesn’t need surgery,” but Real Madrid must be patient as injury issues persist


Start to life at Real Madrid has not been easy for Gareth Bale, and rumors suggest things are about to get worse before they get better.

Over the weekend, the Spanish giants were forced to release a statement after reports in Marca (Spain’s favorite Real rumor-mongers) suggested that the $132 million man needed back surgery after slipping a disc.

“It is completely false that the player has a discal hernia between vertebrae L5-S1 as reported by Marca,” Real Madrid said. “The player has a small chronic protrusion in a spinal disc that will not affect him playing.”

And Bale’s agent Jonathan Barnett has dismissed reports that the injury was detected by Real Madrid’s medical staff before he signed as “complete rubbish.” With Bale suffering a slight tear in his thigh before the international break and using the past week or so to try and nurse himself back to full fitness, the Welsh attacker needs to shake off injuries that are stacking up at the start of his Real career.

(MORE: Real Madrid deny reports that Gareth Bale has slipped a disc)

As has been mentioned many times before, Bale didn’t have a full preseason under his belt after his protracted transfer from Tottenham to Real Madrid took much longer than expected. Hence why the 24-year-old keeps picking up all of these small problems that are affecting each other. So really, Real need to be patient, let him build up his fitness, and maybe by the middle of November they will see the real Bale.

Ever since he arrived, Bale has been under pressure to play. Why aren’t Real protecting their world record signing?

It is thought that the “small chronic protrusion” in a spinal disc could be linked to tightness in his upper leg and thigh area, which if they saw this problem when Bale was having his medical with Madrid back in August, it would make sense to be slightly concerned about picking up plenty of related injuries. And it also calls into question exactly why Real keep rushing Bale back into games, like the half time arrival against Atletico Madrid, the late cameo versus Galatasaray and his full debut against Villarreal, if they know he’s carrying this injury, then they should just give him time to rest.

Madrid have stated this problem is “extremely frequent among professional footballers” and that “these findings [in Bale’s back] are not important as the player is not in pain. He is playing and training normally.”

(MORE: Gareth Bale’s ruled out of Champions League game)

With Real so desperate to nurse their superstar summer signing to full fitness, he even missed international duty with Wales to take part in what some are calling a ‘mini preseason’ to try and help increase his fitness levels and get back to his best.

Bale is a 100 percenter, by that I mean if he isn’t quite at full-fitness, you see a marketed drop in his performance levels. With no injuries, he can run at people all day long, burn defenders for pace and crunch through tackles and win balls in the air. But even if he’s at 90 percent, his performances, although still fantastic, drop off alarmingly.

As of yet, Bale is nowhere near 100 percent fit. So Real Madrid’s fans will have a long wait to see Bale at his best. But it will be worth it, just be patient.

Koeman “very pleased” at notion Rooney could rejoin Everton

LONDON, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 08:  Wayne Rooney of England in action during the FIFA 2018 World Cup Qualifier Group F match between England and Malta at Wembley Stadium on October 8, 2016 in London, England.  (Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)
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With Wayne Rooney‘s future left uncertain at Old Trafford, could a potential return to Everton be in the works?

[ MORE: Liverpool rises to top of PL Power Rankings ]

Toffees manager Ronald Koeman certainly hopes so.

[ MORE: Is 2016/17 the tightest PL title race ever? ]

Rooney, 31, has fallen out of favor with Manchester United boss Jose Mourinho recently, leaving the Englishman on the brink of a move away from the Red Devils.

The veteran attacker has posted just one goal and two assists in eight Premier League matches this season, leaving Koeman optimistic about a Rooney return to Goodison Park for the first time since 2004.

“First of all, I think it is a great player, and he has still not finished his career,” he said. “I do not know how his situation is, and I need to respect that situation. That’s not my problem.

“But even when we get one time the possibility that Rooney is an option for Everton, I’m very pleased.”

While it’s merely speculation at this point that Rooney will in fact leave Old Trafford this season, Mourinho’s recent tendencies of dropping the attacker suggest that the long-time England goalscorer will find a new destination.

Koeman has reinvigorated Everton since his arrival over the summer, bringing the Toffees up to sixth in the PL.

Dynamo officially name Wilmer Cabrera as head coach

Wilmer Cabrera
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Following a third straight year without playoff soccer, the Houston Dynamo have turned to face in an attempt to revitalize the club.

[ MORE: Valdez knocks Sounders past Sporting KC, into West semifinals ]

The Dynamo announced on Friday that the team has hired Wilmer Cabrera as the organization’s fourth head coach in franchise history, following a recent coaching stint with the Dynamo’s USL affiliate Rio Grande Valley FC Toros.

“I am excited to join the Houston Dynamo. It’s a great club with a great history, and I am ready for the challenge,” Cabrera said via a press release from the club. “I look forward to working with the ownership group, management, our staff and the players to return the Dynamo to the level that the club and our fans deserve and expect.”

[ MORE: Impact advance to face Red Bulls, dispatch of D.C. United ]

Cabrera, 48, holds a wealth of experience as both a player and manager, which includes his playing days with the Colombia national team during the 1980s and 1990s. The former defender previously managed now-defunct MLS side Chivas USA as well as the U.S. Under-17 national team.

Azpilicueta: Biggest thing is “we haven’t conceded goals” since 3-4-3 switch

SWANSEA, WALES - SEPTEMBER 11:  Cesar Azpilicueta of Chelsea and Modou Barrow of Swansea City chase the ball during the Premier League match between Swansea City and Chelsea at Liberty Stadium on September 11, 2016 in Swansea, Wales.  (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)
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Antonio Conte has been called a mastermind in the past for his unconventional tactics. Now, it’s those same tactics that are making him look the part of a genius yet again at Stamford Bridge.

[ MORE: Is 2016/17 the closest Premier League title race ever? ]

Since changing his system to a 3-4-3 following Chelsea’s gutting 3-0 defeat against Arsenal last month, the Blues have gone on to win three straight Premier League matches, including a recent 4-0 drubbing of Manchester United on Jose Mourinho’s return to Stamford Bridge.

As important as the results are for Chelsea at the moment, the even more impressive aspect is the way that the Blues are winning matches. In their three consecutive victories, Conte’s side has failed to concede a goal, which has helped bring Chelsea to within a point at the summit of the PL.

Not only do the supporters appreciate Conte’s willingness to adapt and build a team that plays up to its greatest potential, but defender Cesar Azpilicueta is one of the many players that have uttered similar sentiments about the Italian’s tactics.

“I find it good. The most important thing for me is the team and since we changed the system we haven’t conceded goals in the Premier League,” he told Sky Sports.

“I try to play my part in the team. The most important part of the system is the spirit of the team and the way we work. The tactics make a difference but what was most pleasing was the way the team work made it happen. Some players have different roles now but we have all week to work on that and we have a very clear idea what to do in the game. We have different options from the attacking fullbacks now.”

[ MORE Guardiola says he needs “time to learn, to improve” at City ]

Azpilicueta has been one of three key figures for Chelsea at the back since Conte made the switch defensively, joining Gary Cahill and David Luiz in a partnership that looks hard to crack at the moment.

Report: Mexico open to hosting 2026 World Cup despite potential joint bid with U.S., Canada

PASADENA, CA - JUNE 09:  Chicharito #14 of Mexico celebrates after his goal in front of Andre Blake #1 of Jamaica to take a 1-0 lead during Copa America Centenario at the Rose Bowl on June 9, 2016 in Pasadena, California.  (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
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Despite some talks linking a possible two or even three nation bid for the 2026 World Cup, Mexico has opened the door for El Tri to host the world’s biggest football competition for a record third time.

[ MORE: Liverpool reaches summit of latest PST Premier League Power Rankings ]

Mexico Football Federation president Decio de Maria recently told ESPN that he and his country are prepared to go ahead with a bid for the 2026 edition of the tournament with or without any hypothetically joint bid.

“I don’t know [whether we would pursue a joint bid] but the rules are already open to it,” De Maria said. “What was agreed upon makes the path perfectly clear.

“Mexico will be in the hunt to host the 2026 World Cup.”

In addition to Mexico, the United States has been considered an early favorite to be named hosts in 2026 after losing out to Qatar for the 2022 competition. The U.S., Mexico and Canada have also been linked with a joint bid between the three CONCACAF nations, as the region looks to bring the World Cup back to North America for the first time since 1994 (when the U.S. hosted).

Mexico previously hosted the World Cup in 1970 and 1986, and is one of four nations to have held the tournament on home soil more than once.