Gareth Bale is back for Real Madrid and the club is confident that his return will give them such a massive boost they will stay clear of the field in La Liga and win their first title since 2012.
Bale is akin to the winter transfer window signing every other team in the Champions League would have loved to make.
Madrid also see the reappearance of the man they call the 'Cardiff Express' in Spain as key to the reigning holders reaching Cardiff on June 3rd to defend their crown.
Gareth Bale is set to make his Real Madrid return this Saturday when they take on Espanyol
Bale wanted to return against Napoli in mid-week but he was held back by Zinedine Zidane
Bale wanted to play against Napoli in midweek but Zinedine Zidane decided to keep him in cold storage for a little while longer.
But Real Madrid definitely want Bale to start the second leg against Napoli on March 7 and Zidane is also desperate for his Welsh talisman to play in key league away games against Villarreal and Eibar in the next couple of weeks.
For him to meet those targets he needs to build up his match minutes over the next three weeks and Zidane is expected to name him on the bench to face Espanyol on Saturday.
The expectation is that he will make a brief appearance against Espanyol and then play for longer against Valencia in midweek.
Zidane believes Bale will be an important player for Real for the rest of the season
Villarreal next weekend is one of Real Madrid’s most difficult remaining league games and Zidane wants Bale in the team back on the ground where he made a goalscoring debut in 2013.
Madrid then face Las Palmas at home and Bale could rest with a view to returning for the following weekend’s difficult trip to high-flying Eibar and then the trip to Italy to finish the job against Napoli.
The former Tottenham winger wanted to come back against Napoli in midweek but Zidane put the brakes on the club’s record signing believing that after almost three months out it would have been 90 intense minutes just a bit too soon.
Bale injured tendons in his right ankle on November 22 and was operated on in London on November 29.
Karim Benzema and Cristiano Ronaldo take part in a passing drill during training on Friday
He tweeted how he could not wait to return following Madrid’s home win over Napoli in midweek and is desperate to play in the San Paolo stadium. Madrid have won half of their Champions League ties in which they have won the first leg 3-1 at home.
To avoid any slips in Naples they want their best team on the pitch and that includes Bale. Their club record unbeaten run and World Club Cup success have been achieved without the Welsh international but no one was in better form at the end of 2016 when injury sidelined him.
There isn’t a supporter at the club now who does not want him straight back in the team as soon as it’s safe for him to do so.
The long road back is in its home straight now with Bale ready to give Real Madrid’s double-chasing season a massive boost.
Ronaldo is still suffering from a goal drought in the Champions League after the Napoli tie
Benzema scored an important goal for Real as they won 3-1 in Wednesday night's game