Tottenham winger Gareth Bale reportedly won't make Britain's Olympic football squad because of injury, leaving coach Stuart Pearce without one of his standout players days after he cut David Beckham.
Britain's Press Association said on Saturday that Bale had a recurrence of a back injury while running and was ruled out of the London Games after taking medical advice.
The 22-year-old Welshman told Pearce that he wouldn't be able to play, PA reported, with the coach set to name his 18-man Olympic squad on Monday having already controversially decided to leave out former England captain Beckham.
Bale signed a new four-year contract with Tottenham last week, tying him to the London club until 2016 amid reported interest from some of Europe's leading clubs.
The pacy left-sided midfielder was one of the most impressive players in England's Premier League this season and was linked with Spanish giants Barcelona and Real Madrid among other big-name clubs. Bale was named 2011 player of the year by fellow players in the Premier League and was included in UEFA's team of the year last year.
Bale also was expected to be one of Britain's best players at the Olympics, but PA said he had decided against playing at the games and possibly aggravating the back problem with the start of the Premier League season less than two months away.
Manchester United's Ryan Giggs and Liverpool's Craig Bellamy would now likely be the Welsh representatives in Pearce's squad. Giggs, Bellamy and English defender Micah Richards were the three over-age players Pearce named to his British squad at the expense of the 37-year-old Beckham.
Britain faces Senegal, U.A.E. and Uruguay in Group A at the Olympics, with the games scheduled for July 26 at Old Trafford in Manchester, July 29 at Wembley and Aug. 1 at Cardiff's Millennium Stadium in Bale's home country.