On Oct. 30, Real Madrid announced Gareth Bale’s new contract. The deal extended the mutual relationship between club and player until 2022 and therefore made the Welshman the natural heir to Cristiano Ronaldo’s throne.
Less than a month later, the Welshman picked up his eighth injury in three and a half seasons with Real Madrid, as he damaged the peroneal tendons on his right ankle in his team’s 2-1 win against Sporting of Portugal last Tuesday. This injury adds to a long list of physical issues for Bale, who simply has not been able to stay fit for a full season since he became a professional.
The new setback for the Welshman looks reasonably serious. On Thursday, Real Madrid announced that Bale will have to undergo surgery, although the short statement did not mention how long it will take for the player to come back. Medical sources estimate that, depending on how quickly Bale’s body can heal, it could take between two and three months for him to return, which means that he’ll be absent until the end of January at the earliest.
Up to now, Bale had played 11 out of 12 La Liga matches, scoring five goals and assisting his teammates twice. Numbers aside, he looked like the most in-shape player in the squad, close to the remarkable form he showed at the end of last season.
Untimely as this injury is, it brings Bale back to a similar situation he went through last season: he had scored 11 times in eight matches and looked unstoppable, but injured his calf in January and had to spend two months recovering. Back then, he admitted that the sequence of injuries had prevented him from performing even better in his tenure thus far with Real Madrid.
It’s obvious that the amount of surgeries that the Real Madrid squad have suffered in the last three seasons defies explanation. Half-jokingly, Thursday’s Marca spoke about The Curse of San Siro, as 10 out of 11 starters in last season’s Champions League final have already been sidelined by physical problems this season. The newspaper forgot to mention that the only healthy member of that exclusive club, Daniel Carvajal, indeed injured himself in the final, and as a consequence missed last summer’s Euro 2016.
In fact, out of the 24 first team players, only seven have not missed a single game due to injury after three months of this season: Kiko Casilla, Yanez, Raphael Varane, Nacho Fernandez, Danilo, Marco Asensio, Lucas Vazquez and Mariano, of whom only Varane is somewhere near being a starter.
However, even in this shocking context of injured players galore, Bale’s case is concerning. Other players can play through pain or hide a subpar form with their knowledge of the game or thanks to their style of playing. The Welsh forward can’t afford that, as his physical form is instrumental in the way he plays.
Bale’s skills with the ball are unquestionable, but what makes him truly unstoppable is his ability to leave the fastest defender behind with his unparalleled ability to accelerate to top speed in a matter of seconds. No full-back tries to play too close to him, as it’s too easy for the Welshman to push the ball forward and bet a race with his marker. Without that, Bale becomes a lot easier to defend.
Many injury-prone players have seen their careers cut short due to their inability to stay healthy, but there are examples of others who, changing dietary and sleeping habits and strengthening specific muscle groups, have managed to turn a negative dynamic of constant injuries into 70+ match seasons, such as Lionel Messi.
This column has pointed out before that Bale has everything to become a star in Real Madrid’s selected group of legends: he’s incredibly skilled, very appealing in the way he plays and has a knack to score clutch goals in top-level matches, goals that are worth trophies. The club’s supporter base adores him.
But the Welshman is risking his own career and his legacy because of this injury weakness. Paradoxically, his biggest asset — his body — has become his biggest enemy as well.
Jordan Ayew tops English Premier League sprint chart after 16 matches
Ghana forward Jordan Ayew has been rated as the player with most sprints in the English Premier League after 16 round of games.
The Swansea City attacker has always been faced with criticisms for his lack of work ethos when playing for the Ghana’s senior national team.
But the former Olympique Marseille man appears to have had the best statistics in arguably the world’s best championship in terms of a player that has made the most sprints in the league after 16 matches
The 25-year-old heads the list of the 10 players ahead of speedsters including Hector Bellerin of Arsenal, Delle Alli of Tottenham and Richarlison of Watford.
According to the Express.co.uk, with their high intensity and counter-attacking football, Manchester City have wracked up the most sprints so far this season with a whopping 6198.
However, relegation-threatened West Ham have managed a measly 4942.
Surprisingly, Manchester United only have the 15th highest amount of sprints with 5210.
Even though Manchester City have wracked up the most sprints as a team, no individual star of Pep Guardiola’s side makes the top 10.
So which Premier League ace has sprinted the most times?
1. Jordan Ayew (Swansea) – 796 sprints
2. Delle Alli (Tottenham) – 742 sprints
3. Jay Rodriguez (Burnley) – 715 sprints
4. Hector Bellerin (Arsenal)- 695 sprints
5. Tom Cleverley (Watford) – 695 sprints
6. Tom Ince (Huddersfield) – 683 sprints
7. Abdoulaye Doucore (Watford) – 682 sprints
8. Richarlison (Watford) – 677 sprints
9. Erik Pieters (Stoke) – 669 sprints
10. Pascal Gross (Brighton) – 662 sprints
Pots announced for Final Draw
With Peru completing the line-up of 32 teams for the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia™, we now know the seeding pots for the Final Draw on 1 December.
It was confirmed in September, by the Organising Committee for FIFA Competitions, that all teams will be allocated to (eight-team) pots 1 to 4 based on sporting principles. The October 2017 edition of the FIFA/Coca-Cola World Ranking will be used to allocate all qualified teams to the four pots according to their ranking in descending order, after hosts Russia who take the top seeding spot.
With those factors in mind, here are the final pots for the Final Draw:
POT 1 Russia, Germany, Brazil, Portugal, Argentina, Belgium, Poland, France
POT 2 Spain, Peru, Switzerland, England, Colombia, Mexico, Uruguay, Croatia
POT 3 Denmark, Iceland, Costa Rica, Sweden, Tunisia, Egypt, Senegal, Iran
POT 4 Serbia, Nigeria, Australia, Japan, Morocco, Panama, Korea Republic, Saudi Arabia
It is worth remembering that the principle of drawing the teams into the groups will remain unchanged. This means that no teams from the same confederation, with the exception of UEFA, which could have up to two teams in the same group, will be drawn into the same group.
The Final Draw will take place on Friday 1 December at Moscow’s State Kremlin Palace.
« We do not want him at Real Madrid anymore »
Real Madrid are in a bad situation in the league, the club of Casa Blanca is currently third in Liga behind Valencia and Barça, the Catalans have taken a big lead, and this could definitely make them lose the championship in the winter. And a Madrid club player is highlighted in these poor results.
101 million euros for his transfer, 23 injuries since, 73 matches missed or 55% of the matches of his team. Statistics that would drive any coach and / or leaders crazy. You have it ?
These are the figures of Gareth Bale since his arrival at Real Madrid in the summer of 2013 from Tottenham. Whoever has played only nine games in the year 2017/2018 seems to have seriously undermined the patience of its leaders. Just back from a calf injury, he was summoned by the Welsh side to face France in a friendly last Friday, but made the choice to stay in Madrid to prepare for the derby against Atletico Madrid. But, the blow, the Welsh injured during training last Thursday and will be absent about a month.
What continue to fuel the rumors of transfers but especially what cause irritation of the board leader. The latter, tired of not being able to align their triplet « BBC », have made a decision that should be irrevocable, according to the Madrid newspaper AS: It must leave this summer. And the Spanish media also explains that the president of the Madrilenian club, Florentino Perez, added:
« We do not want him at Real Madrid anymore »
Yet strongly criticized last season, Bale had managed to avoid a departure last summer, claiming to want to win at Real Madrid. This year, his start to the season does not plead in his favor and he seems to have exhausted all his jokers in the Spanish capital. The departure of the Welsh international therefore seems to have been recorded.
The rumor of a return to the Premier League, Manchester United in particular, has been reactivated but the number of contenders could quickly evolve in view of the quality of the player. Be careful though, the Welsh is signed until 2022, and Florentino Perez is determined not to sell his player.
Unless a return to its best level, it is difficult to see how the Welsh international could reverse the situation. Zinedine Zidane even found his replacement for 100 million euros.
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