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.

MLS Snapshot: Seattle Sounders 1-1 Los Angeles Galaxy

Robbie Keane
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The game in 100 words (or less): The Los Angeles Galaxy became the second team in the Western Conference to clinch a berth in the playoffs following a 1-1 draw against the Seattle Sounders. A terrible mistake from Seattle defender Zach Scott led to an easy goal for Robbie Keane, and it looked like that would be the winner until deep into stoppage time. In the 93rd minute, Chad Barrett got his knee on a corner kick to save a draw for Seattle, although the point was enough for LA. The Galaxy join FC Dallas as the two Western Conference teams headed to the postseason.

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Three moments that mattered

36′ — Robbie Keane capitalizes on Seattle’s mistake — Zach Scott misplayed a ball across the Sounders’ back line, as Robbie Keane intercepted the pass and finished one of the easiest goals he’s going to score. A true striker’s goal, Keane doesn’t miss ones like this.

64′ — Steven Gerrard denied by the woodwork — Los Angeles nearly made it 2-0 right after the hour mark, but Steven Gerrard was just inches off. Gerrard rose up to meet a corner kick from Juninho, but his header took a deflection and hit the crossbar before being cleared out of the box by Seattle.

90’+3′ — Chad Barrett finds a late, late equalizer — Just when it looked like LA was going to leave Seattle with a win, Chad Barrett stole a point for the Sounders. Marco Pappa whipped in a corner kick to the near post, which was flicked on by Brad Evans. Barrett surged into the box and got a knee on the ball as the match ended in a draw.

[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s MLS coverageStandings | Stats | Schedule ]

Man of the match: Steven Gerrard

Goalscorers: Keane (36′), Barrett (90’+3′)

MLS Snapshot: Colorado Rapids 1-2 Real Salt Lake

SANDY UT - MARCH 14: Olmes Garcia #13 of Real Salt Lake celebrates his goal during their game against the Philadelphia Union at Rio Tinto Stadium on March 14, 2015 in Sandy, Utah. (Photo by Gene Sweeney Jr/Getty Images)
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The game in 100 words (or less): Real Salt Lake stays alive in the hunt for a playoff berth in the Western Conference with a crucial 2-1 win over the Colorado Rapids. After falling behind early, RSL scored twice before halftime and held onto the lead for the rest of the match, moving within three points of the final playoff spot in the West. Real Salt Lake has three matches remaining, including a massive clash against the Portland Timbers, which will pretty much decide their season. For Colorado, it’s another year without playoff soccer.

[ MORE: FC Dallas clinches playoff berth ]

Three moments that mattered

16′ — Doyle heads Colorado into the lead — The former Premier League man gave the home side an early lead, thanks to a powerful header from quite a bit out. Sean St. Ledger played in a cross, where Doyle snapped a header into the top corner past Nick Rimando.

33′ — Joao Plata bends in the free kick — Trailing 1-0, Joao Plata drew RSL level with a brilliant free kick. Plata’s shot dipped over the wall and under the crossbar, as Clint Irwin stood helpless in goal for Colorado.

43′ — Mulholland fires home a volley to put RSL ahead — Luke Mulholland scored his first goal of the season, and it was a beauty. A corner kick popped out to the midfielder at the top of the box, as he rifled a shot off the bounce and into the side netting.

[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s MLS coverageStandings | Stats | Schedule ]

Man of the match: Luke Mulholland

Goalscorers: Doyle (16′), Plata (33′), Mulholland (43′)