Raphael Varane
Raphael Varane has started 10 La Liga games this season Getty

Raphael Varane has handed a boost to Zinedine Zidane by returning to training sessions ahead of a crucial week which will see Real Madrid visiting Barcelona on Saturday (3 December), following a midweek Copa del Rey encounter with Cultural Leonesa. However, Danilo and Fabio Coentrao missed the Monday's workout while Toni Kroos and Alvaro Morata continued working separately from the rest of the available teammates.

Los Blancos host Cultural Leonesa on Wednesday for a Copa del Rey last 32 dead rubber, having won 7-1 in the reverse encounter earlier in October.

Zidane is thus expected to make wholesale changes at the Santiago Bernabeu in a bid to have his best players fresh for the trip to Barcelona.

Varane was left out of the Real Madrid squad for the weekend 2-1 victory over Sporting Gijon after suffering a knee injury in the previous Champions League encounter with Sporting Gijon.

But the Frenchman was back in training on Monday evening and could be ready to play against Cultural in order to gain some match fitness before the visit to Barcelona. Then the 23-year-old will fight with Pepe for a role alongside Sergio Ramos in the heart of the defence to stop Lionel Messi and co on Saturday.

Meanwhile, Morata and Kroos remain a doubt for the first El Clasico of the season as they are yet to re-join the rest of their Real Madrid teammates in training. The Spanish international has missed the last three games after picking up a hamstring blow on international duty while the German suffered a foot injury in the 3-0 victory over Leganes on 6 November.

"The squad completed the first session of the week at Real Madrid City, where preparations got underway for Wednesday's Copa del Rey last 32 second-leg clash against Cultural y Deportiva Leonesa at the Bernabéu (7pm CET). Raphael Varane trained with the group, whilst Toni Kroos and Álvaro Morata both completed ball work alone out on the training field," Real Madrid confirmed through the club official website.

Elsewhere, both full-backs Danilo and Coentrao failed to train with the rest of their teammates, with the second having already missed the weekend victory over Sporting due to a muscle issue.

Real Madrid have failed to explain their absences from the session, but neither of them were expected to play against Barcelona anyway, with Daniel Carvajal and Marcelon being the first choices for Zidane in the flanks.

Furthermore, Gareth Bale continued the recovery of his serious ankle injury on his own, as he is expected to undergo an surgery in London to address the issue this week.

"Gareth Bale continues his recovery, whilst Danilo and Fabio Coentrao worked out indoors," the club added.