London – Wales manager Chris Coleman said on Tuesday that Real Madrid new boy Gareth Bale cannot play for 90 minutes in the World Cup qualifiers against Macedonia and Serbia.
Bale flew to the Welsh capital Cardiff on Monday evening after being presented to Madrid fans at the Bernabeu earlier in the day following his move from Tottenham Hotspur for a fee of around £80 million.
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.
Speaking to the media after his presentation, Bale said he wanted to use the time with Wales in order to build up his fitness, but as he has not played since July, Coleman plans to handle him with care.
“If he is not ready we will not risk him, regardless of whether it is a world-record fee,” Coleman told a press conference in Cardiff.
“We are aware a lot of people will want to see him play in the home game against Serbia. But he has no chance of playing 90 minutes on Friday or on Tuesday.”
Wales play Macedonia in Skopje in European qualifying Group A on Friday before tackling Serbia at the Cardiff City Stadium next Tuesday.
Coleman's side can no longer qualify directly for next year's World Cup in Brazil and stand only a slender chance of securing a play-off place. – Sapa-AFP