Chris Coleman admits he would be prepared to allow Gareth Bale to sit out Wales friendlies in the future as he seeks to nurture a strong working relationship with Real Madrid.
It was a surprise to see Bale, the world's most expensive player following his summer move from Tottenham to the Bernabeu, play 90 minutes in the 1-1 friendly draw with Finland on Saturday, even though the player has made clear his commitment to his country.
Bale, who has 43 caps to his name, even returned to Cardiff immediately following his unveiling in Madrid in September to join up with the Wales squad.
Many had expected Madrid to try and limit Bale's involvement with Wales in order to protect their prize asset, although Coleman has previously made it clear that is not the case.
But Bale's compatriot and former Wales international Ryan Giggs often missed friendly fixtures during his career, and manager Coleman acknowledges that going forward it may prove to be the case with his star man.
He said: "To be fair to him, in my two years the only friendly he missed was against Mexico with a back injury. He was there for the games against Bosnia and Austria.
"But he's playing a lot of games in Madrid. We have to look at it long-term as well. As much as we need him, we need to look after him.
"If he's fighting fit then great, we expect him to be here. If he's fatigued, then we might rest him.
"He's going to get a lot of extra attention and if he's feeling fatigued or tired, physically or mentally, as much as I want him on the pitch maybe, depending on who we are playing against in a friendly, we could rest him.
"But he'll probably say he wants to play in every game."
He added: "For the bigger picture it might be worth us saying: 'Just miss this one'.
"It depends on when the game is. It depends on what we have got coming up and what they (Madrid) have got coming up.
"If it's at home, it's nice for the Cardiff public to see him. The Welsh public want to see him.
"If we were away and he'd had a lot of football and he was tired, even if he was fit that could be a conversation we have."
Coleman also revealed he and members of his backroom staff are due to head to Madrid in the coming weeks to speak to Real boss Carlo Ancelotti and his assistant Paul Clement, who the Wales boss worked with at Fulham.
"That's a dialogue we have to have with Madrid. We have opened dialogue with them," he said.
"I spoke with Gareth on Friday. We are going to go over and speak with their whole staff to bring ourselves closer to Madrid. We have to build bridges. We need them with us.
"They have to know and be comfortable that when he comes with us, we know what we are doing with how we prepare because he has a special programme in Madrid regarding his rehabilitation.
"They have to feel comfortable that when he's with us we are doing everything to send him back in one piece."