The Marca story claimed that:
Gareth Bale has a slipped disc on the L5 -S1 vertebrae and a bulge on the L4 -L5. This amounts to a significant injury which, at least for the moment, isn’t giving him trouble and won’t prevent him from playing for the foreseeable future. However, further down the line it may force him off the pitch and, depending on how things progress, may even require surgery.
Real Madrid medical staff diagnosed the injury on 2nd September, the day of his official presentation at the club. The MRI scan left no room for doubt: a slipped disc on the L5 -S1 vertebrae and a bulge, which is the beginnings of another, on L4 -L5. An injury that set alarm bells ringing at the Sanitas clinic in La Moraleja, just outside Madrid, and from where Florentino Pérez was informed of the injury hiding in the former Tottenham player’s spine.
If a follow up piece, Marca quoted Dr Avelino Parajon who said:
“If Real Madrid have signed Gareth Bale knowing about this protrusion, they have committed an error.”
Real Madrid have denied the story and have issued a statement on their web site saying:
In response to the information that the newspaper Marca has published today regarding the player Gareth Bale, Real Madrid would like to state the following:
1. The information published, claiming that the player has a slipped disc on the L5-S1 vertebrae and a bulge on two others, is completely false.
2. The player does not have a slipped disc, as the club’s medical services stated clearly to the newspaper before the information was published. Surprisingly, the version the doctors offered this media outlet on Thursday 10 October has been omitted.
3. The player Gareth Bale has a small chronic disc bulge, which is extremely common among football players and by no means prevents him from carrying out his professional activity normally
What makes the story so interesting, and unusual, is that it is appearing in Marca. Marca is almost the official newspaper of Real Madrid. The newspaper has unparalleled access to the club and is often used to promote the clubs view on events.
That the club is at odds withe the newspaper could be a sign of the split within the club over the signing of Bale. The Bale deal was done by Madrid president Florentino Pérez, who wanted to big name to counter Barcelona’s signing this summer of Neymar.
But there are many within Real Madrid who feel that the club did not need Bale, that they vastly overpaid for him, and having to sell Mesut Özil to pay for the deal just compounded the mistake. It looks like that division is what is now playing out on the front pages of Marca, which does not bode well for the success of Bale at the Bernabéu.