Wales manager Chris Coleman admits he could leave Gareth Bale out of any international friendlies next March if there is danger of him playing too many games.
Bale was left out of the Wales squad for their upcoming friendly against Netherlands on Friday.
The 26-year-old winger has not played a full 90 minutes for club side Real Madrid since September 9 after ongoing calf problems.
And Coleman said if Madrid need him come March, he will not call him up for the Wales squad.
“If March comes around and Baley has had a lot of football, and Madrid say, ‘Look, he’s fit, but we are in the semi-finals of the Champions League, or whatever’, then I’m not going to say: ‘No, he’s playing’,” Coleman said.
“When you start talking like that – when you are that dogmatic – that is when it bites you on the backside further down the line.
“We have never done or put them in that position. Even now, they have not said he can’t come [against Netherlands] but I understand what they are thinking and that’s why he’s not coming.”
Coleman added: “Baley went back after the last camp, trained for two or three days, and then broke down.
“Madrid immediately came out and said: ‘That’s not Wales – he got injured here’.
“That was good to hear, because they could have used us as an excuse if they had wanted to, but they never did.”