Real Madrid's Gareth Bale and Isco back in training ahead of Levante clash
The FC crew assess the impact Real Madrid’s “BBC” trio of Gareth Bale, Karim Benzema and Cristiano Ronaldo had on the club’s win over Valencia in their first start together in 280 days.
Real Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane’s injury concerns have eased with Isco and Gareth Bale taking a full part in Wednesday morning’s training session, while Sergio Ramos and Raphael Varane look closer to a return from their respective problems.
Although the news means Zidane could have all of his key men fit for the looming Champions League clash with Paris Saint Germain, the former galactico is unlikely to risk any players with injury issues in Saturday evening’s La Liga trip to Levante.
The most pressing issue is the knock to Varane’s right knee that he picked up in last weekend’s pressure easing 4-1 La Liga win at Valencia, given Madrid’s medical staff have managed carefully since he underwent a serious operation on the joint back in 2012.
According to Spanish website AS, the France international looks likely to be excused the trip to Levante.
Gareth Bale has scored nine goals in 19 appearances this season.
Given Bale has only recently returned from long-standing ankle and calf muscle problems, an unexplained absence from training on Tuesday was met with some worry by local fans and pundits. However, the Wales international took a full part in the following day’s session.
Ramos and Isco missed the Valencia game last weekend due to calf and hip issues respectively, but both look to be making good progress and should soon be available to Zidane. Youngsters Dani Ceballos and Jesus Vallejo both remain sidelined with hamstring trouble.
Madrid’s club statement on Wednesday revealed that Cristiano Ronaldo had not been out on the pitch with his teammates, although the Portugal captain is not thought to have any new injury issue.
“Training continues at Real Madrid City as the team step up their preparations ahead of Saturday’s clash with Levante at Ciudad de Valencia,” the statement said. “Isco completed the full session with the group, while Sergio Ramos and Varane were able to take part in most of the drills alongside their teammates. Cristiano Ronaldo used the indoor facilities.”
If Ramos and Varane are both unfit for Saturday’s game, holding midfielder Casemiro could be required to fill in at the centre of the back four alongside Nacho Fernandez.
Dermot Corrigan is a Madrid-based football writer who covers La Liga and the Spain national team for ESPN FC. Follow him on Twitter @dermotmcorrigan