• La Liga

Bale insists injury problems 'blown out of proportion'

ESPN staff
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Gareth Bale made his return to action over the weekend © Getty Images
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Gareth Bale says his recent injury issues have been "massively" overplayed in the Spanish media, however he is being careful about easing himself back into action given he remains less than 100% fit.

Bale played the final 15 minutes of Saturday's La Liga win over Malaga at the Bernabeu, entering from the bench and soon winning the late penalty which sealed a 2-0 home victory.

Afterwards the former Tottenham winger told Real Madrid TV that it had been great to play again after three weeks out, and he was happy with his contribution to the win.

"It is just nice to get over the little injury that I had," Bale said. "It has been difficult getting back in as I had no preseason and stuff like that. It is great to get back on the pitch and get a few minutes under my belt and make a good impact. It was massively important for us to get the win today and I thought we played well through the whole game and deserved the win."

Marca had reported that Bale had a slipped disk in his back, a long standing injury that would need an operation to fix, however he himself said the problem was just a "minor" thigh problem.

"It was just a little thigh strain," he said. "The fact that I have not had a lot of game-time and a lot of preseason games or training or running, you always pick up little niggles. I think everything was blown out of proportion, massively. It was just a little minor injury, and I am back playing now."

The Malaga win set Madrid up well for a huge week which features a Champions League group clash with Juventus at the Bernabeu on Wednesday evening, and then the season's first La Liga Clasico against Barcelona at the Camp Nou on Saturday afternoon.

Asked if he expected to start in these games, Bale was cautious, offering a reminder that he was not yet match-fit after his much interrupted pre-season and start to the campaign.

"I have to take things one step at a time," he said. "I have not had too much training or games, it is all about building me up now. Obviously I will do what the manager says, but yeah I just need to introduce myself now and prepare myself right for the rest of the season."

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