MADRID (AP) — Five things to know about the upcoming Spanish league matches:



After missing his much anticipated debut at the Santiago Bernabeu, tests Monday at a Madrid clinic showed Gareth Bale had strained his left thigh.

The injury will keep the Wales winger out of Wednesday's match at Elche, but he will likely make his home entrance next weekend against Atletico Madrid.

Bale scored against Villarreal in his first match for Madrid.



Barcelona's megastars are getting plenty of help so far.

Besides Lionel Messi or Neymar, it is Pedro Rodriguez and Victor Valdes who have also helped the team get off to a perfect start.

Pedro has scored five goals this season, the same as Atletico Madrid striker Diego Costa and one behind Messi, and Valdes saved his second penalty in four days.

Barcelona, which leads the standings with 15 points after five matches, hosts Real Sociedad on Tuesday.



Politely but bluntly, Madrid coach Ancelotti told the Spanish press that he is Italian and his teams do not need 30 passes to score goals when "three will do."

As his squad raced forward at the beginning of the match against Getafe, fans at the Bernabeu were treated to an exhibition of what effect this attacking philosophy can have on the team. What they could not have imagined is that just a few seconds later the ball was sitting at the back of Madrid goalkeeper Diego Lopez's net.

Having been accustomed to the solid defenses that previous coach Jose Mourinho had imposed, Madrid's fast-paced opening attack must have seemed like a breath of fresh air. However, it also illustrated clearly the risks the team can take when caught out by a lightning-fast counterattack.

Fortunately, Ancelotti could count on an in-form Cristiano Ronaldo to inspire the team to a 4-1 win over Getafe, including a sublime back-heel goal scored in injury time.



Ronaldo has shown Madrid fans why club president Florentino Perez has made the Portugal forward the world's best paid footballer by scoring five goals in two games.

A hat trick in the Champions League match at Galatasaray led to a pair of goals against Getafe over the weekend. Best known for his hard-charging runs at goal and his powerful free kicks, the Bernabeu was silenced when Sami Khedira crossed a low ball to Ronaldo, who delicately back-flicked the ball behind a defender and into the far corner of the net.

The 28-year-old forward has now scored 208 goals for Madrid in 205 appearances and is fifth in the club's all-time scoring charts after surpassing Hugo Sanchez.



Atletico coach Diego Simeone is getting things done.

The Argentine seems able to inspire his squad through vigorous halftime talks that have led to a perfect start, putting Atletico alongside Barcelona at the top of the Spanish league standings.

On Tuesday, the other Madrid team will face Osasuna.