Ancelotti confirms Bale to miss Copa

Carlo Ancelotti has confirmed that Gareth Bale will not play against Espanyol this evening after suffering a slight strain.

Los Blancos host Espanyol tonight in the Copa del Rey quarter-final second-leg, holding a 1-0 lead from the first game.

But the Italian Coach has revealed that they will have to face the Periquitos without the Wales international.

“He felt discomfort in his left leg. Tomorrow he won’t play and he’ll train to be ready for [the Liga BBVA match against Athletic Bilbao on] Sunday,” the tactician told reporters.

“His problem isn’t with his genitals – he has a strain in his left leg. I’m resting him to avoid taking risks.”

Ancelotti then went on to comment on his line-up this evening, as well as Lionel Messi’s return for Barcelona and the fight for the title.

“I have to take my time because not all the players have recovered from the game against Granada. We’re going to have a good think about it.

“I could make changes, but not just to avoid risks. Some haven’t recovered. We have a small lead [from the first leg] but the tie is still open and we have to put out the best team possible.

“Espanyol played very well against Valencia. They showed that they were in good shape and played with confidence.

“They were dangerous up front with Sergio Garcia and Jhon Córdoba. We have to be on our guard.

“I don’t know if Messi has changed, but in recent games he has showed that he’s in good shape and that he has recovered well.

“He has helped the team with a lot of assists, even if he hasn’t scored a lot of goals. As always, he has been very important to Barcelona.”

“Physically we’re looking very good. We had injuries to players on international duty, but we’re OK.

“I knew that it would be difficult. Granada came [to the Bernabéu] and played with confidence, Rayo look to control the play… All the teams look to play football and I think that’s very good for football as a spectacle.

“There are three teams battling to win La Liga and it’s a very interesting race.”

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