Gareth Bale should take part in his first Real Madrid training session on Wednesday evening, having apparently moved closer to full fitness while on international duty with Wales.
Bale did not get a chance to train with his new team-mates after his move from Tottenham Hotspur was rushed through at the end of the summer transfer window as, after being presented to the media and fans at the Bernabeu on September 2, he was whisked immediately back to international duty with Wales by private jet.
Bale, who missed most of Spurs’ pre-season games with an ankle knock, watched all of his country's 2-1 defeat in Macedonia on Friday from the bench and was then sent on for the last 32 minutes of Tuesday's 3-0 home loss to Serbia.
While he could do little to turn around a game Wales had already lost, his performance created a positive impression in the Madrid media on Wednesday morning, with AS publishing a video showing him nutmegging Serbian defender Aleksandar Kolarov and hitting the woodwork with what was described as “a magnificent free-kick” on his return to action after 114 days without playing a competitive game.
Madrid’s Wednesday session is scheduled for 5pm at the club’s Valdebebas facility, and is to be held behind closed doors, with no press conference afterwards.
Bale’s match fitness is a further concern for coach Carlo Ancelotti, who is facing a more serious than usual case of ‘FIFA virus’ -- the loss of players to fitness problems after international duty -- ahead of Saturday evening’s Primera Division game away to in-form Villarreal.
Portugal’s Cristiano Ronaldo, Spain’s Isco and Croatia’s Luka Modric all returned early from their national teams and have been undergoing recovery work at Valdebebas this week.
Brazil left-back Marcelo suffered a more serious thigh injury, while Fabio Coentrao also reportedly picked up a problem during Portugal’s 3-1 defeat to Brazil in Boston on Tuesday night.
Should neither Marcelo nor Coentrao be fit for Saturday’s game at El Madrigal, Ancelotti could play new Spain international Nacho at left-back, or give Bale his debut in the position in which he began his career.