Bale not far off from return to action, says Zidane

Gareth Bale has returned to Real Madrid training after missing almost two months with calf and adductor injuries.

Gareth Bale's return from calf injury imminent   -  Getty Images

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 but strained an adductor muscle in his left leg and has been sidelined since.

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Los Blancos hosts Malaga on Saturday and while the game will likely come too soon to reinstate the fit-again Bale, Zidane hopes to welcome back the 28-year-old soon.

"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 2016-17 campaign with a serious ankle injury and Zidane was keen to point out that the former Tottenham Hotspur star will be out of action 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 between them and leaders Barcelona to seven points by beating Malaga, with Ernesto Valverde's side not facing Valencia until Sunday.