Gareth Bale will be fit for Real Madrid's blockbuster clash with Barcelona, according to the club medical department.
ESPN claims Bale is certain to return to fitness in time for the clash, despite rumours that the former Tottenham man had a slipped disc in his back.
Madrid responded angrily to those reports, denying that the big-money signing has a problem in that area and insisting that the injury is altogether less serious.
Head of Madrid's medical department, Carlos Diez, told Spanish sports newspaper AS that the severity of the injury was far less than being claimed, even saying the capital club hope to have their summer signing available two games in advance of a must-see El Clasico.
"There must be patience as he did not do a usual pre-season," Diez is quoted as saying on ESPN.
"That makes a big difference. We are working so that he can play some minutes against Malaga, against Juventus a bit more and the objective is that he arrives at the Clasico at 120 per cent."
Diez went on to claim that Bale's injury is not uncommon in footballers, and that it can be treated with reasonable ease by the club.
"Most high level footballers have similar 'protrusions', which are only a real concern when there is a further clinical problem," he said.
"We are developing a programme of preventative recuperation, with the idea that he feels protected and can avoid it getting more serious. That consists in reinforcing the abdominal and lumbar muscles with preventative exercises. This muscular reinforcement works like a kind of girdle or corset on the [spinal] column, so there is no further suffering from the protrusions."
The Southampton youth-product has thus far played just 132 minutes of football since arriving at the Santiago Bernabeu in the summer.
Having scored on his debut against Villarreal, the Welshman has since struggled for fitness and will be hoping to soon justify his enormous price-tag to the Los Blancos supporters.
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