Real Madrid have all but confirmed that Cristiano Ronaldo will be fit for this weekend’s La Liga meeting with Athletic Bilbao, however, there remains serious doubts over who will partner Sergio Ramos at centre-back.
Ronaldo was understood to have trained alone in the gym on Tuesday, whilst it was business as normal for the rest of his teammates who were seen training as usual at club’s Valdebebas training complex.
There were growing concerns that the Portuguese superstar would be absent for this Saturday’s trip to San Mames, but reports in the Spanish press claim Ronaldo was seen returning to full training on Wednesday and is now expected to be included in the matchday squad.
Whilst the news will come as a boost to Zidane, the Frenchman will almost certainly be without central defender Raphael Varane, who has been ruled out with a hamstring injury.
His fellow centre-back, Pepe, could also be missing for the match at Bilbao, as the Portugal international is understood to be training alone and is a serious doubt due to an unspecified muscular problem.
Should Pepe fail to prove his fitness, then Nacho will likely be called upon to partner the free-scoring Sergio Ramos in the centre of the team’s defence.
Madrid head into Saturday’s game full of confidence having regained their status as league leaders.
With a two-point lead at the top and a game in hand, Zidane’s team are many people’s favourites to claim their first La Liga title for five years and victory over Bilbao would mean they sit top of the tree heading into the two-week international break.
Meanwhile, Real Madrid’s players took part in a special training session with the club’s basketball side after their dramatic 76-75 win over Barcelona last weekend.
With no midweek fixture, Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane organised a joint session with the basketball players.
Bernabeu stars including Gareth Bale, Sergio Ramos and Luka Modric incorporated free throw and three-point shot practice in their routines.