• Champions League

Ronaldo likely to return against Bayern

ESPN staff
April 21, 2014
Cristiano Ronaldo could return for Real Madrid but Gareth Bale is a doubt © AP

Cristiano Ronaldo has returned to full training with Real Madrid and looks set to start Wednesday's Champions League semi-final first leg against Bayern Munich, but Gareth Bale is now a slight doubt having missed Monday's training session with flu.

Ronaldo has not played since limping out of Madrid's Champions League quarter-final first leg against Borussia Dortmund on April 2, missing his team's last four games - including last week's 2-1 Copa del Rey final win over Barcelona - with a mixture of knee and thigh issues.

Madrid's players had the Easter weekend off with their La Liga fixture with Real Valladolid having been put back to May 7, but AS reported that Ronaldo had stepped up his recovery, including extra sessions with privately contracted physio Joaquin Juan.

Ronaldo was then able to complete the full session with his team-mates when they returned to work at Madrid's Valdebebas training ground, according to a club statement released on Monday.

"Real Madrid had their first training session of the week, and continued to prepare for the first leg of their Champions League semi-finals, against Bayern Munich on Wednesday at the Santiago Bernabeu," the statement said.

"Cristiano Ronaldo and [Sergio] Ramos worked with the group for the full session, which began with congratulations for Isco for his [22nd] birthday. Ancelotti also called up Castilla players Llorente, Burgui and Pablo Felipe. [Alvaro] Arbeloa, Jese [Rodriguez] and Bale, who has flu, were the absentees."

Ronaldo's return is likely to see Isco drop out of the XI against the Bundesliga champions, with Angel Di Maria returning to central midfield, and Copa final match-winner Bale switching across to the right-wing - assuming his flu issue is not serious.

Ramos has been receiving treatment recently for a neck muscle complaint, and missed Madrid's 4-0 La Liga win over Almeria on April 12, but was able to come through the Copa win over Barca with no problems and should be fine to start against Bayern.

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