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Real Madrid players are looking ready for Girona

The good news is that potentially every Real Madrid player could be fit and available for Sunday 

Girona v Real Madrid - La Liga Photo by Alex Caparros/Getty Images

Even though Luka Modrić and Gareth Bale trained away from the main squad for some of the time this week, their respective returns to fitness have focussed on working on an individual basis as opposed to group work.

It may well be that Luka and Gareth are simply exercising some caution after their recent return to the side and if so then this is understandable; the recovery process after injury doesn’t just stop automatically the minute a player gets back into the team.

It’s important that the training plans are designed in such a way that people can actually ease back into the training gradually and properly. This means that total recovery hasn’t necessarily been achieved just because someone manages to play a full game.

Everyone’s body reacts differently and there are times when players returning from injury might need those extra few days training alone to ensure their recovery levels are correct and that their fitness continues to improve.

Apart from that it’s been almost another full house on the training pitch this week for Zinedine Zidane as most of Real Madrid’s senior squad trained in preparation for the Girona match this coming Sunday.

The only injury from Eibar at the weekend was to Rafaël Varane who took a head knock; and although Nacho replaced him on the field as a precaution, reports indicate that all is now well and he’s trained this week along with everyone else.

Sergio Ramos is another who is reported to have taken the individual approach as well; but it’s still a big plus from a management aspect when there is virtually a full squad to work with.

Provided that Luka and Gareth are only taking care to work themselves up to full fitness slowly, Zidane and his support team are likely to take full advantage of the increased numbers over the next few days before the usual disruption is caused by the international fixtures the week after.

Having qualified for the last eight of the Champions League and starting to pick up league points again, watching the squad shrink in size due to the inevitable international gatherings isn’t going to help with continuity as we approach the final run-in to the season.

Although there will come a time where Zidane will be forced to acknowledge that the points difference at the top of the league between Real and the leaders will become too great a gap to close, the coach will be emphasising to the squad and anyone else listening that it’s essential to finish the season strongly.

This doesn’t only mean going for Champions League glory either; although that’s an obvious priority.

From Zidane’s viewpoint, finishing the season strongly also means setting off on a run of victories between now and the end of the season to reinforce Real Madrid’s standing on domestic soil in addition to championing the club’s cause in European competition for a third successive term.

The Girona game is a good fixture to begin this period with. Having lost there in October, that result didn’t particularly help Zidane at a time when it seemed that everything that could go wrong did go wrong.

In a particularly hostile atmosphere on that occasion, Real lost the game despite taking the lead through Isco - with Girona coming from behind to win the match 2 - 1.

Being straight after the first leg of the Copa del Rey where Real beat Antonio Calderón’s Fuenlabrada side 2 - 0, defeat in Girona was magnified by the result at Wembley a few days later; where Real lost to Tottenham in the Champions League.

At that stage people were beginning to doubt both Zidane’s and the players’ ability to emulate the successes of the season before and the unrest was building.

To say Real will be out for revenge this weekend is an understatement. But Zidane won’t allow himself to fall into the trap of letting that influence his choice of team selection.

But unlike the game in October, hopefully he will be able to pick from a fully-fit squad on Sunday; barring any unexpected injuries between now and then of course.

With the fixture list being as it is, and in addition to the international break from league action which is coming up again during which Spain face Germany and Argentina, there’s a good chance that perhaps some of those who are less regular in the team might well be given the chance to shine in front of a home crowd.

One obvious option for Zidane would be for some of the players who have recently returned from injury to be given a start in this game.

Jesús Vallejo and Dani Ceballos immediately spring to mind; but Zidane may even opt to give a full ninety minutes to Gareth Bale, Toni Kroos and / or Luka Modrić provided their fitness levels allow him to.

Having cleared the Champions League hurdle of progressing to the last eight of the competition at the expense of PSG; Zidane will now be keen to follow up last weekend’s victory in Eibar and make that strong finish happen. Starting this weekend with Girona.

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