Vicente Calderon

Next Game

A Madrid v Celta Vigo

Saturday, 20 September 2014, 19:00

Spanish Primera BBVA

Last Game

Olympiakos 3 - 2 A Madrid

Tuesday, 16 September 2014, 19:45

Champions League Group A

Copa del Rey midweek preview

Real Madrid are expected to recall Gareth Bale as they attempt to inflict a rare wound on Atletico Madrid when the teams clash in Wednesday's Copa del Rey semi-final derby.

Last Updated: 04/02/14 at 14:07 Post Comment

Gareth Bale: Likely to return to face Atletico Madrid

Gareth Bale: Likely to return to face Atletico Madrid

The world's most expensive footballer has been nursing a leg problem and missed the cup win over Espanyol last week as well as Sunday's league draw against Athletic Bilbao.

Bale has completed 90 minutes just nine times in 30 competitive games this season, following his arrival from Tottenham, and a strong performance from whistle to whistle by the Welshman against Atletico will be sought after by head coach Carlo Ancelotti.

Atletico are the surprise Primera Division leaders after winning 18 of their 22 matches to date, a record which has taken them three points clear of Barcelona and Real.

The cup tussle over two legs offers Real an opportunity to strike a psychological blow, and with Atletico boss Diego Simeone playing down his team's league title prospects, the battle in the minds of the managers is already being fought out.

Speaking on Tuesday, Ancelotti frowned on his opposite number's suggestion.

Ancelotti said: "Simeone doesn't think that his team are contenders. He's saying that to ease the pressure.

"He's done a fantastic job. Atletico are going very well. They started as underdog and now they're top of the league, in the Copa semi-finals and the last 16 of the Champions League."

Cristiano Ronaldo is expected to line up at the Bernabeu, but the FIFA Ballon d'Or winner faces a possible three-game ban after being sent off against Athletic at the weekend.

David Villa's hamstring injury is expected to keep the Atletico striker sidelined, while midfielder Tiago Mendes is a doubtful starter due to a muscle strain.

Barcelona conceded the league leadership after their surprising home defeat to Valencia on Saturday, and they tackle Real Sociedad in the second semi-final, beginning an hour after the Madrid derby commences.

Head coach Tata Martino stressed being in charge of Barcelona always brings a challenge, whether the team head the league or not.

"From the day I came to Barcelona until today, every day has been equal, the pressure is always the same," he said in a press conference, according to Marca.com.

"The next match gives you a chance for vindication. And more so in a cup semi-final. It's very important that we take a lead to San Sebastian."

Barcelona remain without the injured Neymar but have named a 22-man squad for the match, Martino keeping every option open.

Sociedad boss Jagoba Arrasate had a simple message for his underdogs ahead of the first leg in the Nou Camp.

"This generation wants to play in a final," he said. "Words won't make that happen, we have to do it on the pitch."

Related News

Most Commented

Readers' Comments

W

riting a minute by minute account on Berbatov would be like chronicling the days of the guy punished for sloth in the movie Se7en. Day 4 - lay in bed, did nothing - 15th minute, stood there did nothing .

lustral
Taking A Close Look At Mario...

W

hen players in their 30s leave Real Madrid, it's usually to Bolton Wanderers. I miss those days.

sailingmagpie
Top Ten CL Players Whetting Our Appetite

W

ow Pete, you would make an excellent stalker!

fouloleron
Taking A Close Look At Mario...

Footer 365

Europa League: Everton boss Roberto Martinez delighted with 4-1 win over Wolfsburg

Roberto Martinez was delighted with Everton's display as they brushed aside Wolfsburg to win 4-1 in the Europa League.

Europa League: Tottenham's Mauricio Pochettino hits out at Partizan banner

Tottenham's Mauricio Pochettino was angered by the "unacceptable" anti-Semitic banner displayed by Partizan fans.

Europa League: Everton open Group H campaign with 4-1 win over Wolfsburg

Everton opened their Europa League Group H campaign with a convincing 4-1 win over Wolfsburg at Goodison Park.

Mail Box

Why Doesn't Rodgers Play Borini?

One Liverpool supporter thinks this could be Fabio Borini's year, whilst we also have thoughts on the Red Bulls, Welbeck vs Gervinho and Paul Lambert's new deal...

Could Arsenal Benefit From Top Four Exit?

That's one idea in the morning mailbox as the Arsene Wenger debate rumbles on. Plus, comparing Welbeck to Gervinho and some advice for Greg Dyke and the FA...

© 2014 British Sky Broadcasting Ltd. All Rights Reserved A Sky Sports Digital Media property