Real Madrid coach Carlo Ancelotti has confirmed that Gareth Bale will be fit to finally make his home debut for the club in the Madrid derby against Atletico on Saturday.
Bale was due to make his bow at the Santiago Bernabeu in Sunday's 4-1 win over Getafe, but had to withdraw from the match after pulling up with a slight thigh strain in the warm-up. The Welshman, who joined Madrid earlier this month for a reported world record fee, will however not be in Ancelotti's squad to take on Elche on Wednesday evening to make sure he is ready for Real's biggest game of the season so far.
"He began to train individually yesterday and I don't think there will be any problems for the game on Saturday," Ancelotti told a press conference on Tuesday. "He won't be included tomorrow because we have to prepare him well for Saturday. He wasn't happy after the game on Sunday, but his mood has changed quickly because he has begun to think about Saturday's match."
Ancelotti played down suggestions that Bale had been forced into competitive action too soon after joining Madrid having hardly featured in pre-season for Tottenham Hotspur. Bale's last match for Spurs came in a friendly on 17 July and he didn't play another game until after sealing his drawn out move to Madrid when he featured as a second-half substitute in Wales' 3-0 defeat to Serbia on 10 September.
The 24-year-old then scored on his Real debut against Villarreal four days later before playing the final half hour of Los Bancos' 6-1 hammering of Galatasaray last week. "I don't think there has been a rush," said Ancelotti.
"He played for just 60 minutes against Villarreal and 30 against Galatasaray. He didn't have any issues heading into the Getafe game, but then the problem arrived. It is not a serious muscle injury because if it was he wouldn't have been able to train today or play on Saturday. I don't know what happened, but we won't risk him by putting him on the pitch tomorrow."
There is even better news for Ancelotti on the injury front in defence with both Raphael Varane and Fabio Coentrao fit enough to be included for the match at Elche, whilst Marcelo will also be ready for the clash against Atletico.
However, despite the fact that newly-promoted Elche have failed to win in any of their first five game back in the top-flight, Ancelotti is not expecting an easy ride. "It will not be easy. Every match before the game we have to stay focused and concentrated. We know we have more quality so we have to show the same character and motivation as they will.
"We need to be careful with this match because we have the experience of Villarreal where we played a very difficult match. They are teams playing with a lot of excitement. They won the second division last season and to play against Madrid is a huge thrill for them."