Bale, Marcelo doubtful ahead of vital week for Real Madrid

Madrid, Feb 10 (IANS) Real Madrid face being without two key footballers for their next two games as Gareth Bale and Marcelo both look likely to miss Saturday’s La Liga game.

Real are to play against Athletic Club Bilbao at home, and the first leg of their European Champions League last-16 tie away against Roma the following week.

Left back Marcelo suffered a shoulder injury as he fell awkwardly during Real Madrid’s hard-fought 2-1 win away to Granada on Sunday night and his place on the left will either be covered by Nacho Fernandez or Danilo, reports Xinhua.

Bale meanwhile was targeting the game against Bilbao for his comeback after suffering a calf injury three weeks earlier in Real Madrid’s home win against Deportivo la Coruna.

The club had been hoping he would be able to pick up speed before being first choice in Rome, but after a week working on sand in order to build up muscle strength, he missed Tuesday’s session after suffering a minor relapse, which will sideline him for the weekend.

When asked about Bale’s fitness last weekend, head coach Zinedine Zidane commented that the Welsh international “better, but not totally recovered. It is better to do things correctly with him and take his recovery bit by bit”.

Athletic will also be missing key players for their visit to a ground where they have lost in 15 of their last 16 visits with midfielder Mikel San Jose and striker Inaki Williams both suspended after San Jose saw his fifth yellow card of the season and Williams sent off during last Saturday’s 0-0 draw at home to Villarreal.

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