Tottenham manager Andre Villas-Boas has revealed that Gareth Bale will miss the club's Premier League opener against Crystal Palace, and potentially further fixtures because of an injury-hit pre-season.
The 24-year-old has not featured since scoring against Swindon on July 16 with a foot injury, with his future at White Hart Lane in doubt following talks between Spurs and Real Madrid talking place over a potential £100 million deal.
Bale was called up to the Wales squad to face Republic of Ireland, but coach Chris Coleman admitted his star player was not physically or mentally ready to play - and Villas-Boas has ruled him out of the trip to Selhurst Park on Sunday.
"No, because he's been out injured for most of pre-season," Villas-Boas told reporters.
"He was involved in the games against Brentford and Swindon but not any others, for different reasons; pulled a muscle in his gluteus that prevented him from being involved for two weeks and he's been complaining of pain in the foot.
"I think the most natural thing is to see him not involved against Palace."