Wales forward Bale ruled out of World Cup qualifiers

LONDON (Agencies): Real Madrid forward Gareth Bale has been ruled out of Wales’ World Cup 2018 qualifiers against Georgia and the Republic of Ireland this week, the Football Association of Wales (FAW) has confirmed.

Bale was a doubt for the games having picked up a still unspecified muscle injury in Madrid’s 3-1 Champions League win at Borussia Dortmund last Tuesday. Blancos coach Zinedine Zidane has maintained since that the issue was not so serious, but the 28-year-old did miss his club’s 2-0 La Liga win at home to Espanyol last weekend.

Zidane had said that he “hoped” Bale was not risked by his country for the games in Tbilisi on Friday and Cardiff on Monday. The FAW have now said that “following dialogue” with the European champions a further scan was carried out which showed an injury which ensures he cannot take any part in the two crucial qualifiers.

“The Football Association of Wales can confirm that Gareth Bale will miss the upcoming World Cup qualifiers against Georgia and Republic of Ireland,” the FAW statement said. “Bale — who missed Real Madrid’s game against Espanyol on Sunday — arrived with the rest of the Wales squad on Sunday and attended Monday’s annual FAW Awards dinner at the team headquarters in Cardiff. But following dialogue with Real Madrid, Bale was sent for a scan and results confirmed that he wouldn’t be fit to feature. Barnsley striker Tom Bradshaw will now join up with the rest of the squad later today.”

Bale picked up the Wales Players’ Player of the Year award for 2017 at Monday’s gala, but for the first time in five years he missed out on the overall Player of the Year prize, which went to Chris Gunter of Championship club Reading. It is now 18 different injuries for Bale since his arrival from Tottenham in summer 2013 — the majority of his absences have been due to his problematic calf muscles (six to the left, two to the right) — but there have also been back, knee, ankle and hamstring issues.

Although the precise nature of the current problem has yet to confirmed, the 28 year old is now expected to return to Madrid for treatment, and it remains to be seen if he will be fit to feature in his club’s next game at Getafe on Saturday Oct. 14.