Real Madrid v Sevilla preview: Hosts forced to continue without Gareth Bale
Last Updated: 09/12/17 7:51pm
Wales star Gareth Bale will miss Real Madrid's La Liga clash against Sevilla on Saturday (kick-off 3.15pm GMT) as he continues his recovery from a calf muscle injury.
But Real boss Zinedine Zidane has not ruled out Bale travelling with the squad to the United Arab Emirates, where they face a Club World Cup semi-final next Wednesday.
Bale took part in training on Friday, but he will not play this weekend, with Raphael Varane joining him as an absentee after picking up a knock during the midweek Champions League victory over Borussia Dortmund.
"We'll see if [Bale] can be fit enough for us in the semi-final," Zidane said at his pre-match press conference, and reported by Marca.
"He is not going to play on Saturday. The idea at this moment is for him to travel with us to the Club World Cup."
Zidane, meanwhile, also faced questions about Cristiano Ronaldo's future at the reigning European champions, fresh from the 32-year-old winning a fifth Ballon d'Or.
"I see him here always," Zidane added. "It is always the same debate about whether he's happy or not. This is done to disrupt Cristiano and Madrid. He's at the best club in the world, and there is no debate."
Real and Sevilla are tied on points in La Liga, with Madrid one place about their rivals in fourth, while Sevilla will join this weekend's opponents in the Champions League last-16.
"They are a Champions League team that has had a great season," Zidane said. "It's going to be a very difficult game against a good team. They are good on paper and have been playing very well lately."
Sevilla midfielder Pablo Sarabia, meanwhile, has urged his players to forget about their Champions League progress as they prepare to tackle Real.
"It's going to be difficult, but we are ready," he told www.sevillafc.es. "We know we need to counter their weapons, which are many.
"We have to be conscious not to drop our concentration for even 10 minutes. It's a beautiful stage. Camp Nou and the Bernabeu are the hardest away matches, but we need to see that as an extra incentive. If we win, it will be a double boost in confidence."
While Real boss Zidane will be without three of his first-choice back four - Sergio Ramos, Dani Carvajal and Raphael Varane - due to a combination of injury and suspension, reserve centre back Jesus Vallejo has recovered from a knock.
Varane only has a minor problem and will travel to the Club World Cup next week.
Gareth Bale, however, remains absent and Zidane is unsure as to whether the Welsh forward will feature in Saudi Arabia as Madrid bid to defend their title.