Bale back in Real squad for Cup clash with Atletico

Reuters News
Posted: Feb 04, 2014 7:29 AM

MADRID (Reuters) - Gareth Bale has recovered from a calf problem and is back in Real Madrid's squad for the first leg of their King's Cup semi-final against holders Atletico Madrid on Wednesday.

The Wales winger's debut season in Spain has been disrupted by a series of minor injuries after joining from Tottenham Hotspur for a world record fee and he has missed Real's last two matches after picking up the injury in a La Liga game against Granada on January 25.

"Gareth Bale is available," coach Carlo Ancelotti told a news conference on the eve of the game at the Bernabeu where Atletico beat Real 2-1 to win last season's final.

"He has recovered well and has trained well these last two days with the rest of the team," added the Italian, in his first season in charge after taking over from Jose Mourinho.

"He is in good shape."

Bale's Real career has been something of a disappointment so far, prompting mutterings about the club's decision to pay 100 million euros ($135.2 million) for the 24-year-old.

Ancelotti said that apart from the injuries, another reason Bale had not settled as quickly as expected was that the protracted negotiations over his move disrupted his pre-season preparations.

"Bale will definitely be much better next season, firstly because he'll be able to have a normal pre-season and secondly because he'll be more used to the unfamiliar culture of Spanish soccer," Ancelotti said.

($1 = 0.7397 euros)

(Reporting by Iain Rogers, editing by Josh Reich)