Chris Coleman admits Gareth Bale could be left out of Wales' Euro 2016 build-up when Real Madrid enter the business end of their season.
Bale will miss Wales' friendly with Holland this week even though the Real forward is expected to return against Sevilla on Sunday night after being sidelined for three weeks with a calf injury.
Coleman said he took the decision as it was in "Wales' long-term interest'' to let Bale build up his fitness in Madrid rather than play in Cardiff on Friday, but the 26-year-old might not play for his country again until the eve of next summer's European Championship.
Wales hope to arrange a March friendly ahead of their first major finals appearance for 58 years, but Coleman says Bale might be excused turning up for that game if Real are chasing silverware at the time.
"Baley went back after the last camp, trained for two or three days, and then broke down,'' Coleman said. "Madrid immediately came out and said: 'That's not Wales - he got injured here.'
"That was good to hear, because they could have used us as an excuse if they had wanted to, but they never did.
"If March comes around and Baley has had a lot of football, and Madrid say: 'Look, he's fit, but we are in the semifinals of the Champions League, or whatever' then I'm not going to say: 'No. he's playing.'
"When you start talking like that -- when you are that dogmatic -- that is when it bites you on the backside further down the line.
"We have never done or put them in that position. Even now, they have not said he can't come, but I understand what they are thinking and that's why he's not coming.''
Wales want two warm-up games just before the start of Euro 2016 in France on June 10.
But with Real Madrid possibly contesting the Champions League final on May 28, Bale's involvement could be limited for Wales in that period.
"We will try and play two games if we can between May 28 and June 10,'' Coleman said. "It is not very long between the Champions League final and the start of the Euros but I would imagine Baley would figure for us.
"I would be surprised if his last game for us before France is the Andorra game. I would not expect that. He will want to play himself.''
Coleman was involved in a row with Arsene Wenger this week over the fall-out of an injury suffered by Arsenal midfielder Aaron Ramsey.
Arsenal manager Wenger said featuring against Andorra last month "cost Ramsey and Bale'' and he could not understand why they had played with Wales having already qualified for Euro 2016.
On Wednesday, Coleman accused Wenger of a "cheap shot'' by suggesting Ramsey's subsequent hamstring problem was Wales' fault.
Wenger responded on Friday by saying he did not blame anybody for Ramsey's injury, but added "it would have helped the clubs'' to send the pair on for the last 20 minutes against Andorra.
"I don't have a relationship with him, I don't know him,'' Coleman said when asked about his previous rapport with Wenger.
"When I was manager at Fulham, we had games against Arsenal but I don't know if he is one for the glass of wine and chat afterwards.
"At Fulham I was brought up with managers who -- win, lose or draw -- you went in with them afterwards. I did go in with him but I can't remember spending too much time in his company, if I'm honest.''