Gareth Bale is fit and in contention to start while Casemiro and Raphael Varane should return when Real Madrid face off Osasuna this weekend.

Real Madrid will be looking to consolidate their position at the top of the La Liga table when they take on Osasuna at Estadio El Sadar in matchweek 23 on Sunday afternoon. And they have been handed an injury boost heading into the fixture as Gareth Bale has recovered from an ankle problem and is available for selection.

While Bale makes a return to the 19-man squad announced by Zidane for the trip to Osasuna, Real Madrid once again will be without marquee summer signing Eden Hazard. The Belgian has been back in training for two weeks now, but continues to be overlooked as Zidane looks to ease him back into action. Marco Asensio remains sidelined for the Merengues.

There will be changes made to the lineup that started in the midweek defeat to Real Sociedad starting from goal itself, where Thibaut Courtois will replace Alphonse Areola. There will be three changes in the backline too with Sergio Ramos the only player expected to be retained from the Copa del Rey clash in the backline.

The Real Madrid skipper will be partnered by Raphael Varane, who was rested for the cup tie. Dani Carvajal ought to return at right-back in place of Nacho while Ferland Mendy should replace Marcelo, who struggled in midweek, on the opposite side.

There will be some shuffling of the pack in the middle of the park as well, with Casemiro set to return at the base of the Real Madrid midfield after being rested against Sociedad. Luka Modric should also return to the starting XI, with Federico Valverde and James Rodriguez dropping out, whereas Toni Kroos should be retained in the side.

Coming to the attacking trident, Karim Benzema is a certainty to feature from the get-go against Osasuna, while Vinicius Junior ought to start once again, given that he was the best player for Real Madrid against Sociedad in the midweek game.

The situation surrounding Bale this season hasn’t been all too pleasant, with him getting linked with an exit at every step. And speaking of the Welshman in his pre-match presser, Real Madrid boss Zinedine Zidane said, “There’s no problem and he’ll continue to work as he is and we’re counting on him. The most important thing is that Bale wants to be here, wants to train and wants to fight.”

“There are times when he isn’t involved, like in the last few squad lists, but that doesn’t mean anything. He’s our player and I’m going to use him between now and the end of the season. There’s no issue. He’s under contract and is staying put, as his agent said, he wants to be here.”

Bale is unlikely to be involved from the get-go on Sunday having only returned from an injury. And with Rodrygo Goes being dropped from the 19-man squad by Zidane, Lucas Vazquez should get the nod on the right flank for Real Madrid ahead of against Osasuna.

Real Madrid Predicted XI: Courtois; Carvajal, Varane, Ramos, Mendy; Modric, Casemiro, Kroos; Vazquez, Benzema, Vinicius

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