Rested Real Madrid wait on Gareth Bale return


Madrid (AFP) – Real Madrid boss Zinedine Zidane hopes to have Gareth Bale back before the second leg of his side’s Champions League last 16 clash with Napoli.

The postponement of Madrid’s visit to Celta Vigo last weekend due to storm damage caused to Celta’s Balaidos stadium has allowed Zidane to recover a fully-fit squad bar Bale, who is still working his way back from ankle ligament damage.

The Welshman hasn’t featured since late November and whilst Wednesday’s first leg against the Italians is likely to come too early, Zidane is confident of having Bale back well before the return in Naples on March 7.

“The return isn’t till March 7 so hopefully he is with us before then,” Zidane said on Friday.

“He is back on the field and the only step he has left is to train with the rest of the team.

“He is working very hard and I can see the desire he has.”

The suspended Toni Kroos is Madrid’s only other absentee for Saturday’s visit to rock bottom Osasuna.

Marcelo, Luka Modric and Dani Carvajal are among those to return from injury

However, Madrid have only won one of their past six league meetings away at Osasuna and Zidane is not expecting an easy ride despite the fact the Navarrans are yet to win at home in La Liga this season.

“We have had time to work, physically we are good and ready to play,” added Zidane.

“It is a very difficult place to go and we know that it is top against bottom, which I don’t like at all.

“It has always been difficult for us at El Sadar and that isn’t going to change.”

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