Isco back in Real Madrid training ahead of weekend derbi clash with Atletico
Real Madrid playmaker Isco has returned to full training ahead of Saturday's derbi at neighbours Atletico Madrid.
Isco was released by Spain after taking a knock in the friendly win over Costa Rica and missed the week's first two training sessions with Madrid.
But he was back in action on Wednesday, with fellow midfielder Mateo Kovacic also stepping up his recovery after two months out with an adductor muscle tear.
A Madrid statement said Luka Modric was fine after international duty with Croatia but suggested goalkeeper Keylor Navas may not be available to head coach Zinedine Zidane.
"Zidane saw three players return for the session," the statement said. "Isco and Modric, who worked individually on Tuesday, joined the group.
"Kovacic also trained for the first time with his teammates since his injury.
"[Gareth] Bale, Luca [Modric] and Keylor Navas continue with their respective recovery processes. The Costa Rican goalkeeper was out on the field training alone."
Right-back Dani Carvajal, who has not played for six weeks due to a virus in the membrane lining his heart, told OK Diario he was ready to return.
"Four or five days after the diagnosis, I felt no pain" he said. "Now I'm feeling very good.
"I have worked well these last two weeks to pick up fitness. I would have liked to return earlier. But we agreed that it would be after this international break, which would help me build up fitness."
The Spain international said he had feared for his career when he learned the reason for a pain in his chest following a Champions League game at Borussia Dortmund in September.
"I was a bit scared," he added. "You imagine it is more serious, and even think it might be something chronic and you would have to stop playing.
"But the doctors told me not to worry, that it was something that often happens, and to keep relaxed, just take the medication and rest up and I would be cured."
Madrid captain Sergio Ramos welcomed the positive fitness news ahead of a busy run of fixtures, saying: "It's good that we are recovering people who have been injured.
"The sooner we have a full team the better. The calendar is not good, but it's nice that big games are coming with everything on the line.
"We have practically no margin for error in La Liga."
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