Bale ruled out of Valencia clash
Gareth Bale will miss Real Madrid's final game of the year away to Valencia on Sunday due to an inflamed calf muscle, Real boss Carlo Ancelotti has confirmed.
Bale was absent from Wednesday's 2-0 win over Olimpic Xativa in the Copa del Rey after picking up the injury in training on Tuesday.
However, Ancelotti insisted the injury is not too serious, suggesting the Welshman will be fully fit by the time Real return to action after the winter break on January 6.
"The injury he has is just a knock. It is not a serious injury, but he won't be available for tomorrow," said Ancelotti.
"He hasn't had the necessary time to recover."
Angel di Maria will replace Bale on the right side on the Madrid attack, while Cristiano Ronaldo will return after being suspended in midweek.
Xabi Alonso is also certain to start given the impact he has made on the side in recent weeks since returning from injury.
The former Liverpool midfielder's contract is up at the end of the season and, although Ancelotti recognised keeping the 32-year-old is a priority, he dismissed suggestions that Madrid are over-reliant on Alonso.
"The board want Xabi to renew his contract because he is very important, he is experienced and has a lot of quality.
"He is one of the best midfielders in the world and we want to keep him.
"However, I don't think we are dependant on him. We have other important players in that position and we have played half the season without him and the results were good."
Valencia have had an unsettling week as they dismissed coach Miroslav Djukic on Monday and just sneaked past lower league Gimnastic 1-0 on aggregate in the Copa del Rey.
Ancelotti, though, doesn't believe a change of coach will make things any easier for Madrid.
"It is a difficult game at a very important time.
"They have changed the coach and so we will play against a very motivated and concentrated side. We want to finish the year playing well and winning the three points."