Wales manager Chris Coleman has risked the wrath of Real Madrid by suggesting the Spanish club have thrown Gareth Bale in at the deep end.
Bale was named in Coleman's Wales squad to face Macedonia and Belgium, and then rapidly withdrawn due to the thigh injury which is set to sideline him for two weeks.
''We have spoken to the doctor and we will be without him, but we said all along it is very tough for him to have had no pre-season and be thrown in at the deep end," said Coleman.
He added: "I would never criticise another manager - Carlo Ancelotti is a brilliant manager - but La Liga football is a different tempo to the Premier League. The Premier League is the fastest so maybe Carlo is thinking Gareth can handle it, he's a super athlete."
"But in our last camp he was nowhere near fit. He had a reaction on the morning of the Macedonia game, that is why we only used him for 35 minutes against Serbia last month.