Gareth Bale is set to feature for the first time in two months when Real Madrid host third-tier Fuenlebrada in the Copa del Rey on Tuesday, but Zinedine Zidane has pleaded for patience with the Welshman’s fitness.
Bale’s four-year spell in the Spanish capital has been dogged by injuries, particularly in the past year as he has completed 90 minutes just four times.
“I want Gareth to be fully-fit but I can’t say when that will be,” Zidane said on Monday, as Bale returned to full training following a thigh injury.
“The idea is that tomorrow he can play and he looks good. As always he needs game time and how the matches go will determine what the best route for us to take is.
“He will play tomorrow, but I don’t know for how long.”
Zidane is expected to make wholesale changes for the clash at the Santiago Bernabeu (2030GMT) with Real already leading the Madrid-based minnows 2-0 on aggregate.
Bale is yet to play a single minute this season alongside Cristiano Ronaldo and Karim Benzema as injury and suspension have blighted all three early in the season.
Real have paid a heavy price as the European champions have fallen eight points behind Barcelona at the top of La Liga and finished second in their Champions’ League group behind Tottenham Hotspur.
However, Zidane is hopeful of reunited Real’s famed ‘BBC’ front three in time for the Club World Cup and an El Clasico clash with Barca next month.
“I want to see Gareth, Cristiano and Karim,” added the Frenchman.
“It has been a long time since I have seen them together.”