We are currently trialling our new-look independent.co.uk website - please send any feedback to beta@independent.co.uk


Real Madrid deny report that Gareth Bale needs back surgery after suffering a 'small chronic protrusion in a spinal disc'

Spanish club claim that the world's most expensive player remains on course for his comeback from injury

Real Madrid have released a statement denying that Gareth Bale has suffered a lumbar disc hernia in his back that would require him to undergo surgery.

The revelation came in Spanish newspaper Marca, with the report claiming that the injury explains why the world-record signing has been suffering from a thigh muscle injury since his arrival in Spain.

Bale has played just 132 minutes since his £86m switch at the end of the summer transfer window, although Real have acted quickly to play down fears that the injury is serious.

S statement released by the club said: “It is completely false that the player has a discal hernia between vertebrae L5-S1 as reported by Marca. The player has a small chronic protrusion in a spinal disc that will not affect him playing.”

The club are confident that he is still on for his predicted comeback ahead of their crucial Champions League match with Juventus on October 23 and the first El Classico of the season when they meet Barcelon three days later.

It is believed that Real medics detected the injury during Bale’s medical with the club, which he had just three days before being named in the starting line-up to face Villarreal in La Liga, and the protrusion is believed to be putting pressure on a spinal nerve root which runs down through the buttock and down his leg, where Bale is experiencing the pain.

The lumbar disc hernia is a degeneration of one of the spinal discs which sits between each vertebra in the spinal column, with Bale’s injury said to be between his first and second vertebrae, and this is allowing the inner tissue to protrude.

The club remain hopeful that Bale will not require surgery on the problem, but previous occurrences of the injury suggest otherwise. At Real, both Gonzalo Higuain and Hamit Altintop required surgery to repair the same injury, while John Terry, Yaya Toure and Santi Cazorla have all gone under the knife to have repair surgery on the same injury.

Jose Mourinho was left fuming over Real’s decision not to allow Higuian to have surgery, with the Portuguse – who was manager at the time – insisting that his condition had deteriorated further due to their initial refusal.