Gareth Bale is not as badly injured as Real Madrid and Wales first feared with medical tests revealing the winger has not torn a calf muscle. The 28-year-old was ruled out of Wales’ final World Cup qualifiers against Georgia and the Republic of Ireland, following dialogue between his club and his country, with a calf strain. An update from Spanish champions Real on their official website on Wednesday said the former Tottenham player had been diagnosed with “swelling but no tear in the soleus muscle of his left leg”.
The Welsh hero could be out for around a month, which would also rule him out of the play-offs on 9-14 November. Wales are second in Group D and if they keep that spot it could be enough to earn them a place in the play-offs. But they are only a point clear of third-placed Republic of Ireland, who they face in a potentially pivotal showdown on Monday night. Bale suffered the injury during Real’s Champions League victory over Borussia Dortmund last month.
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The hosts still have Aaron Ramsey and Joe Allen and players that would be very welcome in Martin O’Neill’s camp. In June, they went to Serbia without Bale and drew with the group leaders. It wouldn’t have been a travesty if they won that game. Wales minus Bale are still a superior operation to the Georgian outfit that snookered Ireland in Tbilisi.
Bale has scored 26 goals in his 68 Wales appearances and played a huge role in their memorable run to the Euro 2016 semi-finals last summer.