It’s great news for all concerned at Real Madrid that Toni Kroos, Luka Modrić and also Jesús Vallejo trained on Sunday but it doesn’t necessarily mean they’re all fit.
Marcelo, of course, played on Saturday night against Getafe and looked fine. But he’s likely to be involved far more against PSG on Tuesday than he was against Real’s city neighbours.
Cristiano also gave everyone a scare when he came off after scoring against Getafe; but it’s hopefully only been that. He immediately put an ice pack on his calf in the dug-out; but like the others, also trained on Sunday.
The test, as always, will be in the next 24 hours when the level of training steps up considerably as the match approaches.
For Zinedine Zidane, the PSG game represents yet another test. He’s taken a fair amount of criticism in the media of late but that’s only to be expected of a Real Madrid coach when results aren’t the best and things don’t always go according to plan on the field.
But like Cristiano in the first leg against the Parisians, Zidane is always up for the big occasion.
There will be two faces of Real Madrid on show in Paris today and tomorrow. The traditional open training session in the Parc des Princes will be nothing more than a run out; a public relations exercise for the benefit of the watching media with the proper work already having been done in private.
Still, it’s great just to get on the pitch and loosen the legs off in preparation for the match ahead.
Whether Luka and Toni Kroos are fit enough to play or not probably won’t be made public until the day of the match; and even if they do train beforehand the level of their participation will be governed by whether Zidane and the staff feel they’re ready to play.
Like in the first leg, Zidane isn’t going to put too much emphasis on Unai Emery’s team selection. Despite Neymar’s absence in Paris from Tuesday’s match, PSG are still going to be a formidable outfit.
In many ways missing Neymar could focus the opposition and perhaps increase the team effect. They say Barça don’t play as well without Messi as Real Madrid do when Cristiano is out of the side; so which of the two categories Neymar falls into will be seen on Tuesday.
But back to Real. As it stands at the moment anyway, Zinedine Zidane has a full squad to choose from.
The question of whether everyone in that squad is actually fit however, still remains to be seen.
Zidane, as always, will be taking the pragmatic approach. Whoever plays on the night will have his full confidence and if the returning midfielders don’t make it in time for tomorrow then there are others who will step up to the mark just as easily.
The one advantage Zidane does have is that he’s not influenced by outside sources telling him who to pick. If he feels that both Toni Kroos and Luka Modric are fit enough then he’ll play them; if not, he won’t. It’s as simple as that.
For any player though, no matter how experienced they are or how comfortable they might be with the big occasions, returning to the team in a game of this magnitude after a period out injured and without the benefits of having had at least 45 minutes against regular opposition is always difficult.
It’s not just a matter of getting the boots on again and going out to play; they need to be able to adjust to the pace of the game from the moment they step on to the turf.
That’s an area that Unai Emery could perhaps be looking to exploit and he may see their return as a potential weakness on the night.
Although most people wearing Real’s colours may consider the return of the injured players to be a strength; Zidane will only take that view if he’s convinced that despite being back in training on Sunday, Toni Kroos and Luka Modrić are both fully fit and raring to go.
As always for the big occasions Zinedine Zidane named everyone in the squad for the Paris trip. He likes to keep everyone together anyway and it shows; but there’s no harm in keeping the opposition guessing either.
As a coach, Zidane is a deep thinker. He’ll have been weighing up all the possibilities for the last few days and despite the importance of tomorrow’s match, will likely have given some thought to what happens next - assuming Real see off the challenge of PSG and progress to the next stage of the competition.