REAL MADRID

Bale back in Cristiano-less Real squad for Rayo encounter

The Welshman is line to start on Saturday after overcoming a muscle complaint. Injured pair Cristiano Ronaldo and Dani Carvajal miss out.

With Cristiano Ronaldo unavailable, much of Real Madrid's attacking onus looks set to fall on Gareth Bale against Rayo Vallecano (Saturday, 16:00 CEST).

The Welshman, who on Thursday resumed normal training after missing Los Blancos' midweek win over Villarreal through injury, went through his paces again on Friday and, having shown no apparent adverse effects, appears in line to start at Vallecas.

The former Tottenham Hotspur man finished Madrid's thrashing of Getafe last weekend complaining of muscle discomfort, before - in a much-questioned move - opting to travel to Cádiz the following day to play 36 holes of golf.

Speaking ahead of his side's LaLiga week 35 clash, Real boss Zinedine Zidane said of Bale: "He’s better, he’s been training well. He’s recovered. The idea is that tomorrow he will be available for the team. We’ll see on Saturday."

Meanwhile, Dani Carvajal remains on the sidelines as he continues his recovery from a muscle issue picked up in Real's Champions League quarter-final second leg against VfL Wolfsburg.

Madrid's plan is for the full-back to make his first-team comeback in the opening leg of their European last-four encounter with Man City on Tuesday (20:45 CEST).

Real Madrid squad to face Rayo Vallecano:

Goalkeepers: Keylor Navas, Casilla and Yáñez.

Defenders: Varane, Pepe, Ramos, Nacho, Marcelo, Arbeloa and Danilo.

Midfielders: Kroos, James, Bale, Kovacic, Modric and Isco.

Forwards: Benzema, Lucas Vázquez and Jesé.