​Real Madrid forward Gareth Bale will return to the club's first-team squad for Saturday's La Liga match against Espanyol, according to reports in Spain.


Bale recently returned to training and only narrowly missed out on selection for Real's Champions League tie against Napoli during the week. Spanish publications ​AS ​and ​Marca report the Wales international will likely make the squad and could pick up some minutes as a substitute after training this week without any discomfort.

A place on the bench is likely for Bale, who picked up the injury back in November during a Champions League tie against Sporting CP in November. The knee injury has ruled the former Spurs winger out of action for three months but he is set for a comeback on Saturday against Espanyol.


Real manager Zinedine Zidane is not eager to take any unnecessary risks regarding Bale's fitness, and is unlikely to rush the 27-year-old back into his starting line-up.

Real Madrid CF v Real Sociedad de Futbol - La Liga

However, Real will be without club captain Sergio Ramos for the visit of ninth placed Espanyol. The Spain defender picked up a knock to his right hip during the Napoli game and could not participate during Friday's training session, meaning Zidane will have to look to Pepe or Nacho to act as the 30-year-old's replacement on Saturday.


Pepe has only played eight La Liga matches this season due to the form of Ramos and Varane, while Nacho has figured in 13 league games, appearing twice as a substitute. Real are currently top of La Liga, a point ahead of Barcelona with two games in hand.