Midday kickoff but no Bale for Real Madrid
Madrid: The Gareth Bale saga continues to loom on the horizon in the run up to Real Madrid`s home game against Athletic Club Bilbao on Sunday as fans continue to wait for his transfer from Tottenham Hotspurs to be finally made official.
Spanish sports paper, Diario AS insisted Friday afternoon that the deal was done for a price of 91 million euros, but by Saturday morning there was still no official confirmation from Real Madrid, reports Xinhua.
That means the Welshman can`t officially be presented before Sunday`s game and the stand that Madrid built a week ago for Bale`s presentation will humiliatingly have to be taken down and rebuilt for the presentation, which will probably take place Monday, before Bale has to report for international duty.
It has been a busy week in the transfer market for Madrid with Brazilian midfielder Kaka announcing Thursday that he wants to leave after four expensive and disappointing seasons wearing the white shirt and he is unlikely to be included in the squad.
Madrid coach Carlo Ancelotti has the same injury worries he had a week ago with Xabi Alonso and Rafael Varene long term absentees and Asier Illaramendi still working his way to full fitness, although Illaramendi could make the bench along with Sami Khedira, who is also back in training after suffering muscle trouble.
Nevertheless, Ancelotti will stick with Casimiro and Luka Modric, who performed well in the first half of Monday`s win in Granada with Mesut Ozil, himself a subject of transfer speculation, on the right and recent signing Isco playing behind Ronaldo and Karim Benzema.
Meanwhile the Bale saga has taken the goalkeeping debate out of the headlines and Diego Lopez will again start ahead of Iker Casillas.
Athletic Club Bilbao`s good start to the season was jolted Friday with the news that Manchester United have made a 30 million euro offer for midfielder Ander Herrera and although club President Josu Urrutia said that the club would not negotiate a sale and that the Ander had not for the moment expressed any wish to leave.
Things may become clearer when coach Ernesto Valverde names his squad to travel to Madrid after their Saturday training session with Oscar de Marcos likely to take Herrera`s place in the side if the club decides against taking him to the Bernabeu.
Midday kick offs traditionally provoke a big turn out in the Bernabeu, with tourists taking advantage of their trip to the capital to go and see Real Madrid.