MADRID (AFP) - Real Madrid coach Carlo Ancelotti has not ruled out the possibility that Gareth Bale could start his side's Champions League opener against Galtatasaray on Tuesday as a substitute.
Bale, who joined Madrid for more than 90 million euros (S$151.5 million) - this figure is disputed with English sources putting it considerably higher - earlier this month, started and scored in Real's 2-2 draw with Villarreal on Saturday.
However, having missed the majority of pre-season whilst negotiations between Tottenham Hotspur and Madrid dragged on over his transfer, Ancelotti is wary of handing the Welshman too great a workload just days into his Madrid career.
"We need to be careful with him because he played 60 minutes after a difficult pre-season," the Italian told a press conference on Monday.
"We will see how he is tomorrow and take a decision, but he didn't have any problem after the game against Villarreal."
The 24-year-old started on the right side of Madrid's attack at El Madrigal at the weekend, but it was on one of his rare forrays in the middle of the area that he managed to slide home his first goal for the club and Ancelotti suggested he could occupy a variety of positions in the coming weeks.
"Bale can play in all the positions in attack. He is not a number nine, but the position he likes is anywhere in the line behind the main striker and that is why he started on the right." Unsurprisingly, Madrid's other goal against Villarreal came from Cristiano Ronaldo as he marked his 203rd appearance for the club with his 203rd goal.
And there was great news for Madrid on Sunday as the Portuguese signed a new contract that will tie him to the club for the next five years.
"I think that for the Real Madrid fans, Ronaldo's new contract is very good news because Madrid can count on their best player for many years to come," said Ancelotti.
"But it doesn't change anything for him. He wants to continue playing well, I think he is even more motivated and I hope the level of his performance continues as it has been in the past few years." The one major change to the Madrid side that will start at the Turk Telekom Arena, and which Ancelotti could confirm, is that club captain Iker Casillas will return in goal.
Ancelotti's plan is to start Casillas in the Champions League and the Copa del Rey, whilst Diego Lopez remains number one in La Liga.
And the former Milan boss is confident Casillas will not be affected by the extra pressure of proving a point after being benched in recent weeks.
"We have two very good goalkeepers with a fantastic attitude.
"In my opinion Diego deserves to play in the league and Iker for his professionalism and the ability that he has deserves to play in the Champions League.
"I think that Iker has a lot of experience and he won't be affected by the pressure. He looks very relaxed to me."