Gareth Bale set to return as Real Madrid host minnows Fuenlabrada


Gareth Bale could return from his two-month injury lay-off on Tuesday in the second leg of Real Madrid’s Copa del Rey clash with third-tier side Fuenlabrada.

Bale has been dogged by injuries this season and last appeared in Real’s Champions League win at Borussia Dortmund at the end of September.

The Wales forward has been restricted to nine appearances for the Spanish champions, but is set to feature at the Bernabeu as Real bid to formally progress having won the first leg 2-0.

“The idea is that he’s available and can play,” head coach Zinedine Zidane told a press conference.

“The way that the game is going will guide our decision. I don’t know exactly how long he’ll play.

“Obviously I would like to see Gareth, Cristiano Ronaldo and Karim Benzema play together because they have not played together for a long time.”

Injuries and suspensions have meant all three Galacticos have yet to appear in the same side this season, but their inclusion could spell bad news for Madrid-based Segunda Division B club Fuenlabrada.

Skipper Sergio Ramos remains sidelined after breaking his nose in the recent draw at Atletico Madrid, while Zidane confirmed goalkeeper Keylor Navas and Mateo Kovacic are both fit again and will be included in his plans.

“Sergio Ramos isn’t going to play, while Kovacic has been training with us regularly for some time now and I hope he’ll be able to play the whole game,” he said.

Both Real and Zidane have come in for heavy criticism having lost twice in LaLiga this season – on home soil against Real Betis and at Girona – and also falling 3-1 to Tottenham at Wembley in the Champions League.

Zidane, whose side currently sit fourth in LaLiga, eight points adrift of leaders Barcelona, added: “Everyone can have their opinion and see it as they wish.

“We’re not doing things wrong, on the contrary. We can improve and we must do so to reduce the lead at the top, but it’s a very long season.

“We’re up there and closed in on the lead this weekend. It doesn’t mean anything, but we are doing better.”

Source: By PA Sport Staff

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