Gareth Bale is set to hand Real Madrid a fitness boost by coming back into contention for Saturday’s La Liga trip to Sevilla.
The Wales forward has not played since limping off after just five minutes of Real’s 3-1 victory over Malaga on April 18 with a calf injury.
However, Bale has trained this week and coach Carlo Ancelotti believes the former Tottenham man has a key part to play as Real attempt to be crowned Spanish champions and retain the UEFA Champions League.
“Gareth Bale has trained with the team,” Ancelotti said. “I think he will be okay to play against Sevilla.
“The team have reacted very well with players missing after the Malaga game. We had [Luka] Modric out, [Karim] Benzema and Bale.
“The players that have come in have done very well. The team has always reacted well when players have been out.
“Bale returns and he will help us. Perhaps he is fresher than other players, he’s had a small rest. The freshness could be very important.”
Ancelotti, who is expecting to welcome striker Benzema back to training next week following a knee injury, takes his Real side to Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan Stadium attempting to keep the pressure on Barcelona – who hold a two-point lead at the top of the table.
The Italian is expecting a difficult encounter against a team that are well in the hunt for a Champions League berth and beat Real 2-1 in last season’s corresponding fixture.
“Sevilla are very strong, a very difficult opponent,” he added. “They play well at home with great intensity. All these teams are playing very hard to win. We want to and we have to win.”
On whether Real or Barca – who travel to bottom side Cordoba on Saturday – could slip up this weekend, Ancelotti said: “Well in football you can win, draw or lose. Anything can happen.
“In my mind there’s only one thing that we’re going to win. I’m not thinking we’re going to lose.”