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Soccer-Bale has room for improvement, says Ancelotti

Reuters

MADRID, Jan 17 (Reuters) - Real Madrid's record signing Gareth Bale has room for improvement, above all in linking up with his new team mates and adjusting to a different playing style, coach Carlo Ancelotti said on Friday.

Bale joined the world's richest club by income from Tottenham Hotspur in the close season for a fee of 100 million euros ($135.6 million) but his first few months in the Spanish capital have been disrupted by injury.

Ancelotti told a news conference previewing Real's La Liga game at bottom side Real Betis on Saturday (1500 GMT) that the Wales winger was over his most recent knock and would feature in the match in Seville.

"I spoke with him today," the Italian added.

"He is fine, comfortable and he feels good physically. Can he improve? Yes, because he could link up better with his team mates.

"They are the normal problems of a player who arrives in a new culture, a new football and a new country.

"Bale is a very important player for us. The signing of Gareth for Real Madrid was a very good thing."

Bale has started just nine of Real's 19 La Liga games this season, featuring three times as a substitute, but has managed seven goals and provided seven assists.

The 24-year-old has played five times in the Champions League, scoring twice, and twice in the King's Cup, where he is yet to open his account.

A win for Real at Betis would draw them level on 50 points with Barcelona and Atletico Madrid ahead of the joint leaders' games on Sunday at Levante and at home to Sevilla respectively.

($1 = 0.7376 euros) (Reporting by Iain Rogers, editing by Ed Osmond)

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