Gareth Bale insists his recent injury problems have been 'massively' exaggerated by the media - but admits he is not yet ready to be a regular starter for Real Madrid.
The Welshman has had a tricky start to life in Spain following his world-record move from Tottenham, and has played in just three La Liga games so far.
Bale initially struggled with a thigh problem that was put down to his disrupted pre-season with Spurs, before a back injury delayed his return even further.
He marked his comeback in Real Madrid's 2-0 win over Malaga by winning the penalty that allowed Cristiano Ronaldo to double Los Blancos' lead late on.
Reports in Spain suggested Bale was suffering with a spinal disc hernia that could require surgery - something Madrid and the former Spurs player vehemently denied.
Speaking after his cameo return on Saturday, Bale said he was getting back to full fitness and laughed off claims he could face a prolonged spell on the sidelines.
"It was just a little thigh strain," he told Real Madrid TV. "The fact that I have not had a lot of game-time and a lot of preseason games or training or running, you always pick up little niggles.
"I think everything was blown out of proportion, massively. It was just a little minor injury, and I am back playing now."
However the former Tottenham winger admitted he wouldn't be rushing his recovery to get into the Real Madrid first team.
"I have to take things one step at a time," he said. "I have not had too much training or games, it is all about building me up now. Obviously I will do what the manager says, but yeah I just need to introduce myself now and prepare myself right for the rest of the season."
Bale said he was happy to be back playing, and added that he was delighted to shake off his injury problems.
"It is just nice to get over the little injury that I had," Bale admitted. "It has been difficult getting back in as I had no preseason and stuff like that. It is great to get back on the pitch and get a few minutes under my belt and make a good impact.
"It was massively important for us to get the win today and I thought we played well through the whole game and deserved the win."
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