Carlo Ancelotti has listed plans for the Real Madrid team to face Villarreal, which include Gareth Bale, and hinted at when Iker Casillas may next play.
Summer signing Bale only began work on a specialised fitness recovery programme at Valdebebas earlier this week, but today took part in full training with his new teammates and is in line to debut in tomorrow’s match at El Madrigal.
“Bale has arrived without having had a regular preseason, but his physical condition is not bad,” affirmed Ancelotti to reporters after Friday morning’s workout.
“He is travelling [with the squad] and is going to play. I have to decide whether it will be from the beginning or in the second half.
“He has no injury concerns, he has ambition and is very motivated.
“He has arrived here with great enthusiasm. He is happy to be in the team that he wanted to be in. He is a humble player who likes to be with his teammates.
“His price? You pay what the market dictates. I’m certain that there have been teams that have offered more money to Tottenham, but the player has decided to come here.
“Where will Bale play? He can play from the right wing. He and Cristiano Ronaldo are two great players that I am sure together will improve the team.”
Ancelotti proceeded to run through other members of his team, several of whom have had injury concerns during the international break.
“It is not easy to prepare for a game without 17 internationals and against a Villarreal who have great enthusiasm and has won all three of their games.
“It will be difficult, if we are not ready…this is an important time because the Champions League is also beginning and we need all of the players to be mentally prepared.
“We had problems with the national teams. Four were injured. Isco has had an issue with his ankle but he has recovered well, has trained for the last two days and will play tomorrow.
“Marcelo, Coentrao and Arbeloa have not recovered. We need better communication to avoid injury. In the last international break Cheryshev returned injured, now it is Marcelo, Coentrao and Arbeloa.
“It is normal to have muscle problems because Coentrao has not had a full preseason. It is normal to have him injured. Nacho will play left-back.”
Asier Illarramendi has been back in full training following an injury-hit preseason and was seen earlier this week as in contention to play on Saturday too.
“Illarramendi has worked very well, he is ready and he will also play against Villarreal. He will do so from the beginning of the match.”
Karim Benzema remains under scrutiny both for club and country.
“Benzema is doing well. he has scored two goals and provided some assists. He also has competition for his place from Morata and Jese. For this he will be more motivated.
“I am very happy with Karim. He is not Modric nor Di Maria. He is different, like all the attackers.”
Focus in the opening weeks of the season has also been on Ancelotti’s decision to persist with Diego Lopez ahead of Iker Casillas between the sticks. Today he was asked if he would rotate between the two depending on the competition.
“Yes, maybe. This Tuesday, Casillas in Istanbul in the Champions League, so the issue will be calmer.”
The Italian was asked for his view on Mesut Ozil’s departure too.
“Many people have had their say and I also want to. For the alleged lack of confidence in him, from the three games played, he was a starter in two. No-one leaves Madrid if they do not want to leave.
“With Isco and Bale he saw that there was a lot of competition and he asked to leave. The technical decision was that he could go if there was a good deal. I wish him luck.”
Ricky Kaka also left to return to Milan.
“He wanted to go. He was not comfortable. He needed more playing time. He has found a good solution at Milan and the fans already know him. I wish him luck, he’ll be fine there.”