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Oct 28, 2013

Xabi Alonso fitness boost for Real

Xabi Alonso looks set to return for Real Madrid in Wednesday’s La Liga game against Sevilla at the Estadio Santiago Bernabeu, after more than five months on the sidelines with groin and foot injuries.

• Rigg: Madrid left with list of 'what ifs' after Clasico

Alonso, 31, missed Spain’s Confederations Cup campaign last summer having undergone an operation to sort the groin injury which hampered him for much of last season, then broke a metatarsal bone in his foot in training when he was nearing a first team return in August.

While the foot injury is fully behind him now, the Basque midfielder did warn recently that his groin problem was “treacherous” and he would have to be careful about coming back too soon. Madrid boss Carlo Ancelotti then left him out of the squad for Saturday’s Clasico defeat at Barcelona, a game in which Alonso’s absence was magnified by Sergio Ramos’ unfortunate performance in ‘holding’ midfield.

Madrid released a club statement the day after that game, suggesting Alonso was very close to making his first appearance of 2013-14.

“Xabi Alonso continues to progress on his way back to playing for the team,” the statement said. “The Whites midfielder, who has recently taken part in full training with his teammates, was at Real Madrid City on the rest day to continue with his rehabilitation. Also training under the orders of Ancelotti were Diego Lopez, Tomas Mejias, [Alvaro] Arbeloa, Nacho [Fernandez], Isco, Casemiro, [Alvaro] Morata and Jese [Rodriguez].”

Ancelotti is likely to rotate his side for the game with Sevilla, and then Saturday's trip to Rayo Vallecano, ahead of the Champions League group game with Juventus the following Tuesday.

Other early team news ahead of Wednesday’s clash with the tenth-placed Andalucians suggests that Gareth Bale will start again, but this time on the right wing, after Ancelotti’s decision to play the Welshman as a roving centre-forward was far from a success at the Camp Nou. Ramos is set to be rested, while Isco, Morata and Arbeloa could all start.

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