Zinedine Zidane insists Gareth Bale is “a very important player” for Real Madrid, while Michel Gonzalez believes Malaga have a chance on Saturday.
Bale’s recovery from a calf injury was recently interrupted by a thigh problem, leading to speculation that Madrid had run out of patience with the forward and would look to sell him next summer.
However, Zidane said at a Press conference: “We know what Gareth can give us.
“He’s very strong, very powerful and technically very good. He works hard and has done very well for the club.
“There’s a lot of talk about his injuries, but he’s a very important player for us. He knows it, I know it and everyone else knows it.
“I don’t know when he’s going to play again, but we’ll see when he returns. He’s fine and not feeling any discomfort.
“I’d rather have Gareth back. What he can give us is his strength. He’s very good, quick, finishes well… He can give us many things.
“The important thing is that he’s with us, he trains and plays because that’s going to take away all the negative things around him.
“It’ll take him less time to recover the form because the injury isn’t very serious. Now we have to get him back at 100 hundred percent.
“I don’t think it’ll take long for him to recover. I see him in a good way. Ten points behind Barca? I don’t see it, not at all.”
The Welshman is joined on the sidelines by Sergio Ramos, Luca Zidane and Marco Asensio, who is expected to miss the next 2-3 weeks with a pelvic injury. Nacho Fernandez, meanwhile, is banned due to an accumulation of yellow cards.
Malaga are Los Blancos’ opponents at the Santiago Bernabeu, and the Andalusians seem to have turned a corner after lifting themselves off the bottom of La Liga with two wins in their last three games.
Furthermore, they have one of the better records against Madrid, drawing three and winning one of their last 11 meetings, while the capital giants have dropped points in half of their six League games at home.
“Every team that have gone there have had chances, and that’s what we want,” remarked Michel, who made over 500 appearances for Los Merengues as a player.
“Still, Madrid are devastating and they’ll make it very difficult for us, but we’re going to try to give ourselves the best chance because we have the same needs as them.”
Real Madrid (probable): Keylor; Carvajal, Varane, Vallejo, Marcelo; Modric, Casemiro, Kroos; Isco; Benzema, Ronaldo
Injuries/suspensions: Luca, Bale, Ramos, Asensio (I) Nacho (S)
Malaga (probable): Roberto; Rosales, Luis Hernandez, Baysse, Juankar; Keko, Recio, Adrian, Chory; Juanpi; Rolan
Injuries/suspensions: Miguel Torres, Kuzmanovic, Ricca (I)
Referee: Gil Manzano
Form guide: Madrid – 3th (D W L W W) Malaga – 18rd (W L W L L)
Previous meeting: Malaga 0-2 Madrid
Venue: Santiago Bernabeu
Kick-off time: 15:15 GMT/16:15 CET (LIVE on Football Espana)