Cristiano Ronaldo returned to training for Real Madrid on 24 April, lending a boost to Zinedine Zidane ahead of the Champions League semi-final first-leg trip to Manchester City. Ronaldo missed Real's 3-2 win over Rayo Vallecano on 23 April with a thigh muscle strain picked up in the midweek victory against Villarreal.
His absence raised fears that he may miss the trip to the Etihad but Real's official website confirmed that he took part in a full training session the day after the Rayo match. Ronaldo's return means Zidane has a full squad to choose from for the pivotal first leg against City.
Spanish daily Marca reported that both Gareth Bale and Karim Benzema sustained knocks in the Rayo match but that the attacking duo should be fine to play in the City match. Centre-back Pepe also suffered a blow in training but it is only thought to be a minor knock.
'Away goal is key'
Real and City are meeting each other in the European competition for only the third time, with the Spanish giants securing a 1-1 draw at the Etihad in the group stages of 2012/13 Champions League. The reverse fixture in Madrid ended 3-2 in favour of the home side.
Bale, who scored a brace against Rayo at the weekend, said Real would target an away goal at the Etihad. "I think that the most important thing is to score away from home," he told Real's website.
"It's also very important not to concede. At the Santiago Bernabeu, we are very strong and obviously we'll have a lot of chances. The Etihad Stadium is a nice stadium with a big pitch and a good surface. It's a good setting for a game," the Welshman continued.
"I've had some good games there. I've scored there, which is always nice to remember but we know that this is a new game. They're in good form and so are we. I'm sure it'll be an exciting game."