Zinedine Zidane has Gareth Bale available for the first time in nearly three months as Real Madrid host Espanyol at the Santiago Bernabeu on Saturday.
It’s Match Day 23 in La Liga and we’re starting to enter the crucial phase of the season. And league leaders Real Madrid return to action on Saturday with Espanyol paying them a visit at the Santiago Bernabeu.
Los Blancos have two games in hand on all their title rivals and a win can see Zinedine Zidane’s men further increase their lead on the likes of Sevilla and Barcelona at the top of the table. Here’s the team news for Real Madrid as Espanyol head to the Santiago Bernabeu.
Zinedine Zidane has fewer injury concerns to deal with by the day, and this weekend the Real Madrid boss has just two players missing from his squad due to fitness issues. Captain Sergio Ramos is absent due to a hip problem while Danilo is unavailable with an ankle injury.
Speaking on Ramos’ absence in his pre-match press conference, Zidane said, “Ramos just took a knock, there is no injury there. He will be with us on Monday without any issues.”
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Meanwhile, Keylor Navas, Luka Modric and Karim Benzema are the two big names missing from the Match Day squad chosen by Zidane, with both players being given a rest. Kiko Casilla, Mateo Kovacic and Alvaro Morata will be starting in their stead.
The biggest piece of news, however, for Zidane is that Gareth Bale is finally all set to return to action for the first time in nearly three months. The Welshman had to undergo a surgery on his ankle, and rejoined first team training earlier this month.
Zidane has picked Bale in his 19-man squad, and the forward is expected to feature for a few minutes even though he may not start with the Real Madrid manager keen to slowly ease him back into the squad.
Speaking on Bale’s return, Zidane said, “Bale is back with us now. He will feature in the squad tomorrow and I’d like to give him some minutes. We all know Gareth. We’re all happy and him especially as he’s coming back into the fold and getting back to playing. He is really excited.”