Real Madrid have confirmed Gareth Bale has sustained a calf injury, with head coach Santiago Solari hopeful that he’ll be back in action soon.The Welshman limped out of his side’s 2-2 draw with Villarreal at half-time – the 11th occasion this season that he has been substituted in the top flight and the 15th in all competitions.But Solari is hopeful he’ll only be out for a short period, with Madrid later confirming the forward had sustained a “grade 1 soleus muscle injury in his left leg” and that he’ll continue to be assessed. Article continues below Editors’ Picks ‘There is no creativity’ – Can Solskjaer get Man Utd scoring freely again? ‘Everyone legged it on to the pitch!’ – How Foden went from Man City superfan to future superstar Emery out of jail – for now – as brilliant Pepe papers over Arsenal’s cracks What is Manchester United’s ownership situation and how would Kevin Glazer’s sale of shares affect the club? The Argentine told reporters: “For now we believe that the Bale thing is something light and today they will put him on tests and we will have more information. We hope he is back soon because he is a very important player.”The most important thing now is to recover players and avoid them getting injured. Footballers are not machines.”Solari also discussed Marcelo’s importance to Madrid, with the Brazilian left-back having been strongly linked with a move to Juventus in the January transfer window.He added: “Marcelo has had a very difficult first half of the season with three very important injuries but he is very important for us and it is key that he takes his time.”Despite the setback against Villarreal, Madrid are unbeaten in their last four games in La Liga and are currently seven points behind league leaders Barcelona.And Solari has called on his players to maintain their focus as they attempt to further cut the gap to Ernesto Valverde’s side when they face Real Sociedad on Sunday.”The objective is to continue climbing positions, the beginning has not been easy and we have gone from ninth to fourth,” he said.”The competition is open and we have to continue to cut [Barcelona’s advantage] and go to each battle to win it. We had a good first half in Villarreal but it cost us the points for not scoring our chances.”Madrid will still consider themselves in the hunt for the Liga title, while they are also in contention to win the Copa del Rey, where they will face Leganes in the last 16, and the Champions League.And, having won the Club World Cup in Abu Dhabi in what was a busy December for the club, Solari praised his players for their efforts.He added: “We face three competitions and we’ll try to put in all the energy levels. The rivals change and their characteristics, the players are not machines. Nobody has had less vacation time than us, the players put all their effort in.”Karim [Benzema] is a very generous player, [Dani] Carvajal has a huge heart, [Luka] Modric had a 39.4 degree temperature before Villarreal and went on to play, Lucas Vazquez has run 14 kilometers per game.On Isco, Solari continued: “Isco has so much quality that he can play in any area of the field. Sometimes you do not have to be decisive with speed but with the quality and the final pass.”
Hedi Annabi, UN Assistant Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations, said in a briefing to the Council that the ceasefire had been holding since January, and that Namibia had been withdrawing its troops according to schedule. Rwanda, he said, had also pulled out a significant number of soldiers. On the political front, the preparatory meeting for the 15 October inter-Congolese Dialogue in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, was held in a “constructive environment” from 20 to 24 August in Gaborone, Botswana, Mr. Annabi said. Representatives from all parts of the DRC took part in the preparatory meeting, agreeing on issues related to the liberalization of political life, freedom of movement, the reestablishment of communications, the protection of persons and natural resources, and the withdrawal of foreign troops.Still, there were areas of concern, the Assistant Secretary-General said. In territory controlled by the RCD (Congolese Rally for Democracy) in North Kivu, the climate of insecurity had worsened amid movements by armed groups towards Rwanda, and arbitrary arrests and extra-judicial executions by the authorities continued. In South Kivu, daily clashes occurred this month between forces from the RCD and armed groups, resulting in killings, lootings and displacement. In territory held by the MLC (Congolese Liberation Movement), the human rights situation was also deteriorating, he said.Mr. Annabi also flagged the problem of a lack of access for relief organizations. “In general, humanitarian agencies have access to less than half of the two million internally displaced people because of security conditions,” he said. On the positive side, MONUC’s “peace boat” escorted the first aid convoy from Kinshasa to Equateur province on 31 July, carrying 650 tonnes of medical, educational and other supplies.Overall, the tasks remaining before the UN Mission in the DRC (MONUC) were “complex and difficult,” Mr. Annabi said, noting that Secretary-General Kofi Annan had outlined those tasks in his 8 June report and the parties in the DRC had gone a long way in helping to implement them. They had agreed to demobilize, for example. However, they had not yet provided all the information needed for demobilization to take place.During the discussion that followed, Council members expressed widespread support for the successful outcome of the preparatory meeting and the upcoming inter-Congolese dialogue, which many stressed was one the few paths forward for peace in both the DR of Congo and the Great Lakes Region. There were repeated calls for the immediate appointment of a humanitarian coordinator for that country, as well as numerous strong condemnations for the human rights abuses that were still being inflicted on women and children. The need to demilitarize Kisangani was stressed as was the need to implement phase three of the deployment of MONUC.