Real Madrid-Celta Preview: Bale set to return to Blancos fold

Gareth Bale is in line to make his Real Madrid return in Monday’s Liga home clash with Celta.

The Welshman, who has scored nine goals in 15 appearances for Los Blancos since his world-record move from Tottenham, missed the club’s trip to Valencia in their final game before the mid-season break due to a calf injury.

However, Bale returned to full training on Friday and could go back into Carlo Ancelotti’s starting line-up for the visit of Luis Enrique’s men to the Bernabeu.

The 24-year-old’s absence did not hamper Madrid at Mestalla, with his replacement Angel Di Maria scoring in a 3-2 win that kept them in touch with Atletico and Barcelona, who sit eight and five points above Los Blancos, respectively.

Liga’s top two are the only teams to have beaten Madrid this season, and Los Merengues‘ last three home Liga fixtures have yielded nine points and 16 goals.

Cristiano Ronaldo was responsible for six of those strikes with hat-tricks against both Sevilla and Real Sociedad, and the Portuguese star also found the net at Mestalla to take his goal tally to 27 in 21 games in all competitions this term.

Ronaldo’s compatriot Fabio Coentrao is available for the Celta game after a month out with a hamstring problem, although Raphael Varane and Sami Khedira (both knee) remain sidelined.

Celta, meanwhile, head to Madrid just one point above the relegation zone following a run of just one win in their last five league matches.

Enrique’s men have picked up just four victories from their 17 Liga fixtures this season, although three of those successes have come away from home, at Real Betis, Malaga and Sevilla.

However, the Galician outfit were beaten 2-0 and 4-0 in two visits to the Bernabeu last season in La Liga and the Copa del Rey, with Ronaldo scoring four times across those meetings.

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