Real Madrid head coach Zinedine Zidane will not risk Gareth Bale before he has fully recovered from a calf injury that has sidelined him since mid-January.
The Wales international has not featured since limping out of Madrid’s 5-1 La Liga win over Sporting Gijon on January 17, a match in which he opened the scoring.
Bale returned to training nine days later, but there have been concerns over his condition due to his continued absence and the former Tottenham star is to miss out again against Athletic Bilbao at the Santiago Bernabeu on Saturday.
However, Zidane – who is also without Marcelo this weekend due to a shoulder problem – sought to ease fears over Bale’s injury.
“When a player is injured you are always a bit worried. But no more than normal. He is getting better every day,” the France great told reporters.
“It is an issue which needs more time. We are relaxed about it, Gareth is a really important player for us, so we will not take risks.
“It’s a normal process, each player has a process and if he feels something that is it. There is no need to keep going over it.
“He still feels discomfort and so I will not risk him, we have to give him more time.
“Gareth is an important player for me, he is lively and well within the group. He wants to play and we only have peace, he is in good spirits.”