After all the hype surrounding Gareth Bale's world record £84 million move to Real Madrid from Tottenham Hotspur, the Welshman's performances have been something of an anti-climax.
He has only appeared for the Los Blancos twice in La Liga this season. After scoring on his debut, the former Spurs player's second league appearance was more low-key as he was brought on at half-time but failed to make an impact as Real lost 1-0 to rivals Atletico Madrid.
Previous to the Atletico game, Bale was unable to make his home debut against Getafe after getting injured in the warm-up. Bale was again revealed to be injured before yesterday's 4-0 victory over FC Copenhagen, in which he was clearly not missed.
Cristiano Ronaldo managed to notch up another two goals to add to his ever-increasing tally. The other two were scored by Argentinian winger Angel Di Maria; one of the Welshman's direct rivals.
It is now understood that Bale faces a race to be fit for Madrid's clash with major rivals Barcelona on October 27.
The Real medical staff are concerned that bringing Bale back from injury too early may risk aggravating the problem with his left thigh. They discovered that issue to their peril when Jonathan Woodgate aggravated an injury that he had picked up before his transfer to the Bernabéu.
Woodgate was subsequently sidelined for his entire first season and only made nine appearances the following year.
The concern is that if Bale spends too much time out of Carlo Ancelotti's side, there is a chance that he will become a peripheral player. The same thing happened with former Ballon d'Or winner Kaka. He was often injured in his four seasons in Madrid; yet even when fit, he was frequently excluded from the starting XI.
Ancelotti's players will inevitably play better as a team as they start to spend more time on the field together. If Bale is not available, he will find his team mates forming understandings with other players besides him.
Consequently, Bale's injury problems will lead to him being picked less often and he may find that no matter how good he is, he cannot get a game.
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