Real Madrid were anxious when Gareth Bale was named in the Wales squad that played against Serbia in a World Cup qualifier on Tuesday night.
The world’s most expensive player has only recently recovered from a groin injury, which has stopped him from playing a competitive game yet this season.
And so Los Blancos had hoped that he would be left out entirely for Wales’ dead rubber against Serbia. There is no way they can qualify for Brazil 2014, and the last thing Madrid needed was for him to injure himself again.
Fortunately, Bale made it through his cameo substitute appearance without a hitch, and even gave the Madrid faithful a few highlights to salivate over, in particular a nutmeg and a stunning free-kick that crashed against the bar.
The Welshman is now back in Spain and part of the Madrid set-up proper for the first time.
The La Liga giants will hold a behind-closed-doors training session on Wednesday evening, and Bale will get his first chance to stretch his legs with his new team-mates.
Los Blancos play Villarreal on Saturday at El Madrigal, and they might be pressured into starting Bale one game earlier than intended.
Brazil defender Marcelo is injured, and Fabio Coentrao reportedly picked up a knock playing for Portugal against the Selecao on Tuesday night.
If coach Carlo Ancelotti does not think Nacho is the right man for the job, Bale could be set to make his Madrid bow against the Yellow Submarine.