London, England – Real Madrid new-boy Gareth Bale was named on the bench for Wales' World Cup qualifier against Macedonia on Friday.
Bale joined up with his country on Monday after the completion of his long-awaited switch from Tottenham Hotspur to Madrid, but Wales boss Chris Coleman opted to leave the winger among his substitutes at the Philip II Arena in Skopje due to concerns over his fitness.
The 24-year-old has not played any football since July due to a combination of injury and anxiety about risking further damage with the Madrid move on the horizon.
Bale signed a six-year contract with the Spanish giants, who paid a fee of around £80 million ($124 million, 94 million euros).
Reports in Britain say Madrid paid a world-record fee of £86–million for Bale, but Spanish estimates put the fee at around £77–million.
Meanwhile, Sam Ricketts won his 50th cap as he partnered skipper Ashley Williams in the Welsh defence, while David Vaughan came in for the injured Joe Allen in midfield along with Arsenal's Aaron Ramsey. – Sapa-AFP