Bale offered no guarantees of Real Madrid game time as he prepares for latest return

The Wales international is back in training and pushing for a recall, but Santiago Solari has made no call on whether he will come straight back in

Gareth Bale has been branded “a fantastic player” by Real Madrid boss Santiago Solari, but he is being offered no guarantees of game time as he prepares to return from injury.

The Wales international is currently preparing to step back into the fold following his latest spell on the sidelines.

He has been out of action since being forced off at half-time during a meeting with Villarreal on January 3.

Six games have been missed by the 29-year-old forward.

Madrid are still hoping that he can provide attacking inspiration this season, with more expected of Bale in the wake of Cristiano Ronaldo’s departure.

Solari is, however, yet to decide who he will call upon for a La Liga clash with Espanyol on Sunday.

He told reporters ahead of that game when asked if Bale will be handed an immediate recall: “Football is always about the next game.

“We will see who plays tomorrow, then the following week.

“The players who are recovering, we want them at 100 per cent as soon as possible.

“Gareth is a very important player for us, a fantastic player, we are very happy to have him coming back.”

Bale has taken in 23 appearances this season, scoring 10 goals.

He has been challenged to offer much more, with former Madrid and Wales boss John Toshack among those looking for him to make minor tweaks to his game and become more productive.

“Cristiano [Ronaldo] plays as a winger, scores and sets up goals for the others,” he told AS.

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“There’s no doubt that Gareth is one of the best players of all time.

“If he wants to continue there, he should try and copy what Cristiano does.

“If you look at what he’s achieved, it makes you wonder what he would have done if he hadn’t been so unlucky with injuries.”

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