Bale return could be imminent - Zidane
Real Madrid head coach Zinedine Zidane is looking forward to welcoming Gareth Bale back into his starting XI after the Welshman returned to training following his latest injury setback.
The 28-year-old has not played since limping out of Madrid's 3-1 Champions League win over Borussia Dortmund at the end of September with a calf injury.
He returned to training soon after that, but strained an adductor muscle in his left leg and has been sidelined since.
Los Blancos host Malaga on Saturday and while the game will likely come too soon for Bale, Zidane hopes to be able to welcome the 28-year-old's strength and pace back into his side imminently.
"We know what Gareth can give us. He's a very strong player, technically good and works a lot," said Zidane.
"He's an important player for us and he knows that. The important thing is that we have to get him back into shape and ready to play.
"What he can give us is strength. He's fast; he can open things up for us and can give us a lot of things.
"I don't know when he is going to play. He hasn't had any trouble today, but we'll see when he can play.
Bale missed three months of the 2017-17 campaign with a serious ankle injury and Zidane was keen to point out that the former Tottenham star will be out for a shorter period this time.
He added: "I think it's going to take less time to get back – the injury this time will not be for such a long time.
"We're in the same situation – we need him back 100 per cent but I don't think it will be as long as last time.
"He's already back in training and he's in decent shape."
Madrid can cut the gap to leaders Barcelona to seven points with a win over Malaga, with Ernesto Valverde's side not facing Valencia until Sunday.