Ancelotti confirms “fantastic” Bale to start against Atletico Madrid


Real Madrid coach Carlo Ancelotti has confirmed that Gareth Bale is fit to start Tuesday’s Champions League quarter-final first leg against Atletico Madrid.

Bale missed Saturday’s victory over Eibar through injury but returned to training on Sunday and Ancelotti says the Welshman is “100 per cent” fit ahead of the short trip to the Vicente Calderon.

“Bale won’t play if he’s not at 100 per cent because our squad is fresh, but he is at 100 per cent,” said the Italian. “He had a fantastic season last year and this one has been good so far.”

The former Tottenham Hotspur man has come under fire in recent weeks and a fans poll on called for him to be dropped to allow James Rodriguez and Isco to line-up in the same team.

Ancelotti will start the Wales international at the Calderon, however, and says he will not tinker with his tactics despite failing to beat Diego Simeone’s side in six attempts this season.

“Everybody is available for selection and I’ll make my decision about the team tomorrow, but our formation will be the same as usual,” he said. “We don’t have a problem with our tactics, but it’s important to play together at all times as a team, with the right attitude and courage to play this kind of game.”

Madrid slumped to a 4-0 defeat last time out against their city rivals but says Tuesday night’s game will offer a different test against a well-known opponent.

“Every match is different,” he said. “In one game we lost because of set pieces and the last time we lost because of our attitude. It’s hard to say what has happened the last few times, but this will be a different tie, we don’t need to win tomorrow and the most important thing for us is to qualify to the next stage.”

Ancelotti has been second best to Simeone in derby duels so far this term but he says it is always an “honour” to compete against him. “It’s an honor to play against Simeone but also a problem,” he acknowledged. “Their style and defensive skills will be very difficult for us.”



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