REAL MADRID

Real Madrid: Ødegaard close to returning after injury

The Norwegian completed several laps of the pitch and did ball work in today's session. He could enter the list for next Sunday's game against Valencia.

El entrenamiento del Real Madrid.

Martin Ødegaard's return to first team duties is a little closer. The Norwegian did light jogging exercises with the rest of the squad in this morning's session in Valdebebas and was later taken through ball work drills. He is now in the final stage of his recovery from the calf muscle injury which was detected back on 16 October. It's a boost for Zidane, who will have another option in midfield alongside Modric, Kroos, Casemiro, Valverde and Isco.

Zidane showed confidence in Ødegaard right from the start of the season, handing him starts in the first two league games against Real Sociedad and Betis. But in both of those matches, he looked slightly uncomfortable - and a shadow of the expressive, creative midfielder which we regularly saw during his loan spell at La Real. Injury curtailed his run in the side and the club  hops he can return to full training this week and with any luck, enter the list for Sunday's game against Valencia.

Problems at right-back

Another player who competed the warm-up with the squad this morning was Álvaro Odriozola, who like Ødegaard is in the final part of his rehabilitation programme after suffering a tear to his left calf muscle over a month ago. That is more positive news for Zidane, who is short of players for the right-back position. Dani Carvajal also took to the practice pitches alongside Nacho although his return is still a way off. None of the three will be available for Tuesday's Champions League game against Inter Milan and Lucas Vázquez, the emergency solution for the time being,  picked up a knock in yesterday's game against Huesca. He worked inside the gym in Valdebebas along with those who started Saturday's game and hasn't been ruled out of the Inter game but neither is he guaranteed to play. If he doesn't recover in time, Zidane has just two options for the right-back slot - Mendy or Militão.