Manchester City will need to be wary of the threat posed by Gareth Bale should he be passed fit to start in their Champions League meeting.
That is the view of Premier League legend Alan Shearer, who has noted Eden Hazard’s absence as a chance for the Wales skipper to prove his worth amid a period of uncertainty.
Pep Guardiola’s men travel to the Bernabeu this week with the chance to put some of their Premier League disappointment behind them with Liverpool poised to take their crown of two seasons.
Bale could return from illness to replace the injured Hazard in Zinedine Zidane’s front three, and Shearer has earmarked the occasion as a chance for him to shine on the big stage once more.
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The Newcastle hero wrote in his column for The Sun: “I’m expecting a great game and with the number of brilliant players on the pitch, goals are guaranteed.
“It’s a tough match to call but Real have suffered a big blow with the loss of Eden Hazard with a broken ankle.
“He’s struggled with injuries since joining but when one door closes, another one opens – and that brings us to Gareth Bale.
“He came close to leaving for China last year but I totally get why he wants to stay in Madrid.
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“I don’t get the criticism of him. Look at what he’s achieved there and how he’s helped them win all those trophies, including that stunning overhead kick to win the 2018 final against Liverpool.
“If Bale gets a chance on Wednesday night, it is a great chance for him to remind everyone of his talents.
“City’s defence has struggled this season and they would certainly be wary of his goal threat.”
The 30-year-old forward almost moved to China last summer and Zidane was open about his desire for the former Spurs winger to leave his club.
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Bale has failed to recapture the form of his early days in the Spanish capital in recent seasons, with his current tally of three goals set to make it his worse campaign in front of goal in ten years.
With that in mind, Shearer has also predicted a transfer battle over City’s Raheem Sterling, who noted his desire to ply his trade in Spain later in his career.
He said: “It certainly wouldn’t come as a surprise if they were interested in signing him.
“Sterling wouldn’t look out of place in their team – despite the stellar names Zinedine Zidane can call upon.”
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