Bale in Real Madrid squad for El Clasico

Real Madrid will have star forward Gareth Bale available once again when it takes on fierce rival Barcelona.

Gareth Bale was absent from Madrid's dramatic extra-time triumph over Bayern Munich in the Champions League quarterfinal on Tuesday   -  Getty Images

Gareth Bale will return to the Real Madrid squad for Sunday's Clasico against Barcelona at Santiago Bernabeu, head coach Zinedine Zidane has confirmed.

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Bale was absent from Madrid's dramatic extra-time triumph over Bayern Munich in the Champions League quarterfinal on Tuesday, the second match he missed due to a calf problem sustained during the first leg at the Allianz Arena.

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But the 27-year-old Wales forward returned to training on Friday and Zidane told a pre-match news conference on Saturday he will have a part to play against Madrid's bitter rivals.

"Bale will be with us tomorrow," he said. "Then you will see if he starts or not."

If Bale is restored to the Madrid forward line, it will be alongside Cristiano Ronaldo in prime goalscoring form.

The four-time Ballon d'Or winner netted a decisive hat-trick as 10-man Bayern was dispatched 4-2 on the night and 6-3 on aggregate, taking his tally over the course of the tie to five.

Ronaldo is aiming to add to a career haul of 16 Clasico goals as Madrid looks to strengthen its grip on the title race – it leads LaLiga by three points ahead of Barca - and Zidane paid tribute to the 32-year-old's inspirational qualities.

"Physically, mentally and morally he's very, very ready for a big game," he said. "Him like all the other players, but we always talk about Cristiano in the big games

"Again, he showed it the other night in the Champions League. The energy he gives this team is amazing. It's very important, very positive."

Barcelona will fall six points behind Madrid at the summit having played a game more if it loses in the capital.

On Saturday, the champion was reportedly in the process of trying to get the second match of Neymar's suspension for a red card in the 2-0 defeat at Malaga a fortnight ago expunged so he can feature in El Clasico.

Perhaps wisely, Zidane refused to be drawn into the debate on the matter.

"I don't know, it's got nothing to do with me," he said.

"It's not my area. I'm just going to look at the team we're playing against tomorrow. That's all."

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