Zinedine Zidane has confirmed Cristiano Ronaldo will make his long-awaited return to the Real Madrid side for Saturday’s home game with Osasuna – but James Rodriguez, Marcelo and Casemiro will all be rested.
Portugal captain Ronaldo has not played for the European champions this season due to a knee injury sustained in the Euro 2016 final defeat of hosts France but has stepped up his training schedule this week and will start at the Santiago Bernabeu.
The same cannot be said for Madrid’s South American trio, who have recently returned from international duty.
Zidane told reporters at his news conference: “Ronaldo is back from his injury and happy to be with us. I’m happy to have him back. He will play tomorrow.
“James, Marcelo and Casemiro played two full games and are a bit tired, so it’s best to give them some rest.”
Karim Benzema will also be in the squad after recovering from a hip problem but may have to make do with a place on the bench.
ZIdane added: “Karim will be with us tomorrow, he has recovered but we will have to see what the starting line-up is on Saturday.”
FIFA’s decision to reject Madrid’s appeal against a two-window transfer ban on Thursday – the charges relate to breaches of rules regarding the signing of young players – meant the focus at Friday’s press conference was on the suitability of Zidane’s squad which is carrying some injury concerns at present.
Zidane added: “Keylor Navas took part in almost all of the training today, but he is not yet ready to be in a squad. We will see next week how it goes.
“Isco is fine but has not yet trained with the group. Next week he will be back with us.
“Fabio Coentrao is a different case, we still have to be patient with him. He wants to return now but we must respect the plan.”