Bale and James nearing Real Madrid return, says Benitez

The key forward pair could make their comebacks against Atletico Madrid in their Primera Division derby on October 4, says the club’s coach while praising Karim Benzema

Real Madrid coach Rafael Benitez says that Gareth Bale and James Rodriguez are on schedule to make their return from injury in the derby against Atletico Madrid on October 4.

Bale has not featured for Madrid since picking up a muscular problem in their 4-0 Champions League win against Shakhtar Donetsk earlier in September, while James has been sidelined since the 5-0 victory over Betis back in August.

The duo will not feature against Malaga on Saturday or versus Malmo in midweek but could make their comeback at the Estadio Vicente Calderon.

“Bale and James will return to training with the group next week,” Benitez told reporters.

“They are both recovering well. If things go well next week, they could play again against Atletico Madrid.”

The absence of Bale and James has seen Karim Benzema step into the limelight, with the Frenchman scoring five goals in four league appearances, and Benitez has nothing but praise for the prolific forward.

“Benzema can score, assist and make great runs,” he enthused. “He is a sensational player for us.”

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