Wales forward Gareth Bale has returned to Real Madrid and will not play in Tuesday's Nations League clash against Ireland, the Football Association of Wales has announced.

A groin injury has reduced Bale's playing time for Real in recent weeks and he missed Wales' 4-1 loss to Spain in Cardiff on Thursday.

A post on the national team's Twitter account read: "Gareth Bale has returned to his club this afternoon and will not travel to Dublin with the rest of the squad." 

The former Tottenham forward was presented with a Golden Boot prior to kick-off against Spain in honour of his record tally of 30 goals.

Wales boss Ryan Giggs explained Bale's absence was due to muscle fatigue.

And Giggs suggested after the loss to Spain at the Principality Stadium that Bale would be absent for the trip across the Irish Sea.

"Gareth is struggling for Tuesday," Giggs said on Thursday.

Bale was among the scorers when Wales beat the Republic in their first Nations League game in September, but midfielder Aaron Ramsey is not underestimating Martin O'Neill's men.

Ramsey, also a scorer in Cardiff, said following the Spain loss: "It's going to be a blow being without Gareth.

"We know how important he is for us as he has scored so many goals.

"But we are looking forward to that test and hopefully we can get back to winning ways."

Ipswich winger Gwion Edwards was drafted in to the senior squad for the first time on Friday as cover for Bale.

Sheffield United defender Kieron Freeman has also been drafted into the Wales squad ahead of Dublin with fitness concerns over Ethan Ampadu (knee) and Chris Mepham (knock).

Nottingham-born Freeman, 26, has played at under-17, under-19 and under-21 level for Wales but has yet to make an appearance for the senior team.