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Bale injured: what could Madrid do without him?

Gareth Bale has suffered "a grade two injury in his left calf", with reports suggesting he will miss both legs of Real Madrid's semi-final against Atlético. Who could cover for him?

Gareth Bale is expected to be out of action for three weeks
Gareth Bale is expected to be out of action for three weeks ©Getty Images

Real Madrid are not expected to be able to call upon Gareth Bale in their UEFA Champions League semi-final tie against Atlético Madrid after the Welshman was ruled out with "a grade two injury in his left calf". However, the European champions have a wealth of attacking options to choose from as they aim for a third final in four years.

Spain Under-21 international Marco Asensio could get the nod from Zinédine Zidane against Real Madrid's local rivals after exceptional displays from the bench in the quarter-final tie against Bayern. The 21-year-old provided the cross for Cristiano Ronaldo's winner in the first leg, and completed the 4-2 win in extra-time at the Santiago Bernabéu with a brilliant low finish.

Could Marco Asensio start in Gareth Bale's place?
Could Marco Asensio start in Gareth Bale's place?©Getty Images

The French coach may decide, however, that Asensio is most useful from the bench, opening the door for Isco – who started the second leg against Bayern and is enjoying his best season in front of goal for Real Madrid: nine Liga goals so far.

Isco can play in Bale's position on the right of the front three, but can drop into midfield if Zidane decides he wants to control possession against Atlético. However, if he wants a bit of dynamism on the wing then Lucas Vázquez might be a more suitable replacement for Bale.

If Diego Simeone's hardened defence is still able to withstand Real Madrid's attack, Zidane can always call on James Rodríguez, who scored after coming on in Sunday's 3-2 defeat to Barcelona, or centre-forward Álvaro Morata, who has 17 goals this campaign in all competitions.