Bale faces El Clasico fitness race

Gareth Bale has returned to first-team training for Real Madrid following a calf injury, but it is unclear if he will be fit in time for El Clasico.

The Welsh forward sustained the leg injury during last week’s 2-1 Champions League victory away to Bayern Munich, causing him to miss Tuesday’s return leg, which Madrid won 4-2.

Isco replaced the former Tottenham player in both the Champions League victory and Saturday’s win over Sporting Gijon, with his performances leading to many fans calling for the Spanish international to retain his place in the side.

Defenders Pepe and Raphael Varane will both miss Sunday’s potentially decisive La Liga title clash at the Bernabeu due to injuries.

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