Cristiano Ronaldo has played down concerns over his fitness ahead of the coming trip to Athletic Club Bilbao on Saturday (18 March) by returning to the Real Madrid training sessions. Long-term absentee Fabio Coentrao also was back in Wednesday's (15 March) workout but Pepe and Raphael Varane remain out and could be a doubt for another crucial weekend in their La Liga battle with Barcelona.
Ronaldo played and scored in the weekend's encounter 2-1 victory over Real Betis to help Los Blancos to overtake Barcelona at the top of La Liga table.
However, the Portugal international sparked concerns over his participation against Athletic Club after being unable to complete the Tuesday's workout along the rest of his Real Madrid available teammates. He had already missed the previous La Liga encounter with Eibar due to a muscle problem.
But Real Madrid have now played those fears after revealing that the Ballon D'or was back in training on Wednesday morning. Furthermore, Coentrao, who is yet to play a game since January, also trained with the team as Zinedine Zidane's side continue the preparations for the visit to Bilbao.
The France boss, however, may have some problems to make the heart of his defence at San Mames as Pepe and Varane continued working on their respective recoveries apart from the main group. The two centre-backs already missed the weekend win over Betis and their availability to face Athletic looks now uncertain.
"The league leaders continue to prepare for the match against Athletic Bilbao. The Whites, who visit San Mamés this Saturday (4:15pm CET), completed a session that saw players working with the ball at high intensity. Zidane had all his squad available apart from Varane and Pepe, who trained alone on pitch 3," Real Madrid confirmed.
Nevertheless, Zidane, who used Sergio Ramos and Nacho against Betis, already predicted on the weekend that the France international was going to struggle to arrive on time to face Athletic.
"It's looking unlikely that he'll be involved on Saturday away at Bilbao. We're going to try and get him back as soon as possible. He's just returned to training and we've got to take things slowly with him," Zidane said in the post-match press conference.
Real Madrid are currently two points ahead of Barcelona at the top of La Liga table, but they still have a game in hand to play against Celta.
Furthermore, they could have a chance to increase the gap against Athletic as Barcelona won't face Valencia until Sunday.