Zidane thrilled by Bale's imminent Real return
Real Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane says Gareth Bale's imminent return to the first-team fold is a “joy for everyone”, with the winger in the mix to feature against Celta Vigo on Saturday.
Bale has not played since Real's win over Sporting Gijon in January after suffering a recurrence of a calf problem, but stepped up his recovery by returning to training this week. And Zidane has confirmed Bale is close to making his comeback against either Celta this weekend or in Real's Champions League last 16 second-leg clash with Roma next Tuesday.
"Bale is going to come into the group and that's a joy for everyone," said Zidane.
"Then we'll see how it goes with this issue. "The important thing is to be with Real Madrid, in the team, and then we will see.”
Zidane also revealed Marcelo has returned to fitness but says he won't risk utilising Luka Modric (ankle) and Toni Kroos (flu), who are both struggling to be fit in time for Celta's visit to the Santiago Bernabeu.
"Modric does not come onto the list,” continued Zidane when asked about who may be fit to face both Celta and Roma.
“Marcelo, yes. I do not want to take risks because we have Tuesday's game. Kroos is not called up against Celta because he has fever and flu.
"The injuries will not change anything, we have other players. It is time for those who play less to come into play."
In the absence of both Bale and Karim Benzema, James Rodriguez has been a more regular fixture for Real.
The Colombian has attracted criticism for his performances as well as off-field issues but Zidane says it has been over the top.
"I think it has been excessive," he added.
"But they already know that when you win, nice things are said and when you lose, they already know what happens.
"He's doing well. James is committed."
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