Bernabéu Bites, 10.13.2013: Bale's Bulging Disc, Isco Gets Fouled

Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno

It's a slow weekend without La Liga as the internationals do their thing. That leaves us with the painstaking tasks of delving into this Gareth Bale back injury fiasco and talking about how often players get fouled.

Gareth Bale's short time in the Madrid white has been quite odd so far. Following the reports of a slipped disc by Marca and then the rebuttal and denial by the club, we've all been wondering just what the hell is going on around here. It's a good question. A more expounded interview with Carlos Díez, the head of the Sanitas-Real Madrid Medical Services, delves a bit deeper into the confusion concerning Bale's back. Perhaps the most interesting tidbit here is the acknowledgment that reporters spoke directly with the Sanitas medical staff and that the situation was indeed laid out for them. That would make what was actually published later on a curious choice by Marca, indeed.

Going right along with the theme of odd publications, the club has released a breakdown of how often Isco is fouled. Turns out it's a lot by comparison with other central midfield players in La Liga. This reeks of a reaction to the 'Neymar-is-the-most-fouled-player' narrative circulating through the Twitter-sphere and message boards. I really don't understand the interest in how often players draw fouls, and much less the statistic being used as some source of pride, but whatever. For Isco, the fouls drawn, at least early on, were mostly due to the player still trying to incorporate himself and holding the ball too long. Luckily, the pace has dropped off drastically from the 10 fouls he suffered in the first match against Betis.

Xabi Alonso's having the longest preseason ever. This article from Alejandro López at Bernabéu Digital states that Real Madrid could really use the redbeard's calming, guiding presence in the central midfield given how the season's started out. Though it adds another piece to a crowded midfield, I tend to agree. Alonso is expected to get back into the fold in the coming weeks as he is finalizing his recovery process from a broken fifth metatarsal injury.

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