Gareth Bale
Gareth Bale has not played for Real Madrid since September Getty Images

Real Madrid head coach Zinedine Zidane has announced that Gareth Bale will resume training with the first team this week after the Wales forward suffered a setback in his recovery from a muscle injury.

Bale, 28, has only made five La Liga appearances for Real this season and has not played for the club since September due to a calf problem.

He suffered a fresh thigh injury during training on 9 November, with initial reports suggesting that the forward could be sidelined for an additional six weeks.

But speaking after Madrid's win over Apoel Nicosia in Cyprus, Zidane confirmed that the injured trio of Bale, Mateo Kovacic and Keylor Navas will train with the first team on 23 November.

"Bale, Keylor Navas and Kovacic will train with the team on Thursday," the Frenchman told Real's official website.

Zidane also explained his reasoning behind replacing Marcelo with Theo Hernandez early on in the second half, revealing that the Brazilian left-back had suffered a knock.

"Marcelo has just picked up a knock to his thigh. I wanted Theo to get some game time," he said.

Karim Benzema and Cristiano Ronaldo each scored a brace as Real marched to a 6-0 win over Apoel Nicosia in Cyprus, with the result securing the defending European champions progress to the Champions League knockout stages.

Zidane said he was pleased to see Benzema and Ronaldo back amongst the goals – the duo have only scored two goals combined in their past eight La Liga games.

"Getting their names on the scoresheet is good for Cristiano and Karim, but it's good news for everyone and is particularly positive for them," he stated.

"They thrive on goals and they've both got braces to see us to victory. I'm delighted for Benzema, Cristiano and the whole team.

"It has been a great matchday for us and the important thing is we have got through the group," Zidane added.

Real host Malaga at the Santiago Bernabeu on 25 November.