Bale injury headache for Madrid

Real Madrid will be without their key attacking trio of Cristiano Ronaldo, Karim Benzema and Gareth Bale for the trip to Sporting Gijon this weekend.

Ronaldo and Benzema are fit, but will be rested for the La Liga clash. Bale is an injury concern, but Real boss Zinedine Zidane has attempted to play down his absence.

With the usual trio missing the trip to 18th placed Sporting, the likes of Marco Asensio, Lucas Vasquez, Alvaro Morata and Mariano are expected to be called upon.

“Bale will not be with us tomorrow, that’s clear,” Zidane said.

“Then we will see for Tuesday. For sure he has something, a bit of a bruise in his calf. It’s a muscle injury, where he has had problems before.

“And we will take no risks with Gareth. We will go game by game and make decisions that way. We hope to have him back soon. Of course I am worried as I don’t like to have players injured, even more towards the end of the season.”

By leaving out Ronaldo and Benzema too, Zidane clearly has half an eye on next week’s Champions League quarter-final second leg against Bayern Munich, despite Real winning the first leg.

But with a three-point advantage at the top of La Liga and a game in hand on second placed Barcelona, Zidane has the leeway to shuffle his pack.