Gareth Bale part of Fifa Club World Cup squad but question remains on match fitness

Manager Zinedine Zidane confirms Bale will leave with team for UAE on Sunday even as he nurses injured calf

Zinedine Zidane's hope is that Gareth Bale, centre, will be available for the first match of their Club World Cup campaign. Paul White / AP Photo
Zinedine Zidane's hope is that Gareth Bale, centre, will be available for the first match of their Club World Cup campaign. Paul White / AP Photo

Gareth Bale will be part of the Real Madrid squad for the Fifa Club World Cup in the UAE as he attempts again to work his way back from injury.

The Welsh star, plagued by fitness problems this season, trained with the team on Friday morning ahead of Saturday’s crucial clash with Sevilla, but will still not be part of the match-day squad.

However, manager Zinedine Zidane confirmed that, despite the recurring calf injury, Bale would leave with the team for the Emirates on Sunday. Madrid are the defending Club World Cup champions and enter the tournament at the semi-final stage on Wednesday.

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There, they will face either UAE champions Al Jazira or Asian Champions League winners Urawa Red Diamonds, who play each other at Zayed Sports City in Abu Dhabi on Saturday.

“Bale won’t be available tomorrow, but the idea is that he will travel with us to the Club World Cup and we will see if he can play the first match,” Zidane said.

The Frenchman confirmed also that defender Rafael Varane will make the trip, even though he limped out of Wednesday’s Champions League victory against Borussia Dortmund. He, too, is unavailable for Sevilla.

“Rapha’s injury is not serious,” Zidane said. "He won’t be with us tomorrow, but he underwent a MRI scan and nothing big came up. He will come with us to the tournament and we’ll see if he can play.”

Sitting fourth in the Primera Liga, Madrid are eight points behind leaders Barcelona. They host their great rivals the week following the Club World Cup final, which takes place on December 16 in Abu Dhabi.

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Updated: December 10, 2017 10:29 AM

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