Bale, Jesé, Isco and Kovacic start; Modric and James on bench

Real Madrid boss Zinedine Zidane, who is without the injured Cristiano Ronaldo, welcomes back the Welshman as Los Blancos take on Rayo.

Bale, Jesé, Isco and Kovacic start; Modric and James on bench
Manuel Queimadelos Alonso

Gareth Bale is back in Real Madrid's line-up as Los Blancos take on Rayo Vallecano this afternoon (16:00 CEST) without Cristiano Ronaldo.

Isco and Mateo Kovacic return to Real's starting XI as Toni Kroos drops back to anchor the midfield in place of the suspended Casemiro, with Zinedine Zidane handing a rest to Luka Modric ahead of Tuesday's Champions League semi-final clash.

Zidane has also opted to keep James Rodríguez among the substitutes.

Meanwhile, Lucas Vázquez drops to the bench in spite of his good display in the midweek win over Villarreal, fellow youth product Jesé Rodríguez completing the visitors' attack alongside Bale and Karim Benzema.

In defence, Danilo continues at right-back in place of the injured Dani Carvajal, while Sergio Ramos begins among the subs as Pepe is drafted back into the backline next to Raphael Varane.

Real Madrid starting XI: Keylor; Danilo, Pepe, Varane, Marcelo; Kroos, Kovacic, Isco; Bale, Benzema and Jesé.

Hosts Rayo Vallecano start with: Juan Carlos; Quini, Amaya, Crespo, Tito; Jozabed, Trashorras, Embarba, Pablo, Bebé; Miku.