Germany midfielder Sami Khedira has returned to full training at Real Madrid and looks set to have a chance to prove his fitness ahead of this summer’s World Cup.
• Train: Madrid roll Almeria, ready for Barca
There were fears that Khedira, 27, could miss the entire season, including the showpiece event in Brazil, when he tore his knee ligaments on international duty last November.
However, he has since stepped up his recovery ahead of schedule and now just needs a final "all-clear" before stepping back out into a competitive game.
Madrid’s La Liga campaign ends on May 18, while the Bernabeu outfit could also have a potential Champions League final a week later should they overcome Bayern Munich in their upcoming semifinal.
The latest news on Khedira’s fitness was included in a Madrid club statement released on Sunday as Carlo Ancelotti’s side stepped up their preparations for Wednesday’s Copa del Rey final against Barcelona.
“The Whites held their first training session at Ciudad Real Madrid in preparation for the Copa del Rey final, to be held next Wednesday at the Mestalla Stadium against Barcelona,” the statement read.
“The big news of the day is the return of Khedira to the group following his injury, in a session in which Carlo Ancelotti had nine footballers on the turf, including Marcelo and Sergio Ramos, who each trained individually.
“The starting XI in the Liga victory against Almeria, meanwhile, completed a recovery session inside the facility. The other absentees on the turf were [Alvaro] Arbeloa, Jese [Rodriguez] and Cristiano Ronaldo.”
Ronaldo is now unlikely to feature in Wednesday’s game at Valencia’s Mestalla ground, with uncertainty continuing over the exact extent of the knee and thigh problems which have sidelined the Portugal captain in recent weeks.
Marcelo is also not expected to recover from his hamstring injury in time for the game against the Catalan club. However, Ramos, who missed Saturday’s 4-0 La Liga home win over Almeria, is reportedly on course to return from a shoulder muscle problem in time to play.