Bale named in Wales squad for World Cup play-off final


Gareth Bale has been named in the Wales squad for their World Cup play-off final against Scotland or Ukraine despite recent back trouble as they seek to qualify for the tournament for the first time since 1958.

The captain has made just two substitute ap-pearances for Real Madrid since scoring both goals in Wales’s 2-1 World Cup play-off victory over Aus-tria on March 24.

The 32-year-old has been absent from Real’s past five matchday squads with a back problem but has returned to training in the Spanish capital and is on course to be available for the club’s Champions League final clash against Liverpool on May 28. But Bale’s long-term future at club level remains uncertain, amid speculation he could join hometown side Cardiff on a short-term deal.

“I think everybody is probably thinking the same thing (about Bale’s future),” said Wales manager Robert Page. “It will depend on how results go with regards to what he does next season with a club.—AP