Gareth Bale missed out on the chance to make his home debut for Real Madrid after straining his left thigh during the warm-up, with the coach, Carlo Ancelotti, suggesting that the physical and mental strain of an unusual summer in which he was unable to carry out a proper pre-season might have taken their toll. Tests will be carried out on Monday but Ancelotti said that he thought that the Welshman would be available for Saturday night's city derby against Atlético Madrid.
The former Tottenham winger was included in the official lineup handed out before the game against Getafe at the Santiago Bernabéu but when the teams were announced by the stadium PA, his name was not read out. The Welshman had reached for his left thigh, near the groin and appeared uncomfortable. He was taken out of the team and not even included among the substitutes. His place on the pitch was taken by Isco, while Raphaël Varane was promoted to the bench.
"He had a small problem in the warm-up," said Ancelotti. "We can't say it's a [serious] injury. Speaking to doctors, I don't think it's a big problem but we have to wait to tomorrow to do a scan to see what happened. He was not comfortable or relaxed so I preferred to avoid any problems and wait and see. He's not happy because he was really looking forward to playing his first game at the Bernabéu but I think he will have lots of chances to play here."
Madrid have two league games in the next six days, against Elche on Wednesday and then Atlético at the weekend. Asked if Bale would make it for Elche, Ancelotti replied: "I don't know. We'll see tomorrow. When a player can't play a game it is hard for him to be ready three days later. [But] I think he'll be ready for the game on Saturday.
"I think that the pre-season was very unusual and not just in the physical aspect but also the mental aspect; he has waited a long time [to join Madrid]. I think that is the problem. He played 60 minutes against Villarreal and 30 against Galatasaray and we were working to improve his physical condition. We had a small problem today but I think he can be OK."
Bale was unable to complete a proper pre-season and joined Madrid on the penultimate day of the transfer window after a drawn-out saga having been involved in only one of Spurs' friendlies. During the last international break, he sat out Wales's first game against Macedonia and played 33 minutes against Serbia.
The Wales coach, Chris Coleman, had insisted that he would not take any risks with Bale. He was concerned about Madrid's decision to start their new world record signing against Villarreal but Bale appeared to come out of the debut in good shape, scoring the opening goal. Bale also played against Galatasaray in midweek. On both occasions there were glimpses of his speed and power.
When the big moment came, though, he was unable to play here. At Real Madrid's members' assembly on Sunday morning the president, Florentino Pérez told supporters that Bale would leave his mark on a generation at the Bernabéu. One Spanish newspaper front page declared this "Bale's dream day". This was not how he envisioned it.
In his absence, Real Madrid came from behind to beat Getafe 4-1, with goals from Pepe, Cristiano Ronaldo, who scored twice, and Isco. Ronaldo's two goals took him beyond Hugo Sánchez in Madrid's all-time goalscorers' chart on 207 goals in 205 games. Isco started only because of Bale's injury but the Bernabéu was soon singing his name. In six games, he has scored five and provided two assists. He, like the Welshman, signed in the summer, joining Madrid from Málaga for €30m (£25.4m).