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Bale back in the fold but not fit to face Betis

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Madrid (AFP)

Zinedine Zidane said on Friday Gareth Bale has resumed light training but will not be available for Real Madrid's La Liga game at home to Real Betis.

Madrid can register their third consecutive victory by beating struggling Betis on Saturday but Bale remains on the sidelines, as he continues his recovery from a calf problem.

Bale caused a stir this week by taking the day off on Monday to meet his agent in London, prompting reports in Spain he was discussing a move away from the Santiago Bernabeu in January.

But Zidane has insisted Bale had permission to be absent from the club and he is now back in training.

The Welshman was not with the rest of the squad for Friday's early session but did some running alone with a team physio.

"He is here with us, he is training and working hard," said Zidane in a press conference on Friday.

"He is back from his trip and he is getting better. He is not available yet but he is recovering bit by bit.

"It seems we should bring him out here to speak to you because I don't know anything more."

Real Madrid sit second in La Liga, a point behind Barcelona and one ahead of Atletico Madrid and surprise high-fliers Granada, both of whom have played a game more.

James Rodriguez returned to Madrid on Friday from Colombia after the birth of his second child, but he is not expected to be involved this weekend.

Centre-back Nacho is struggling with a knee problem and Marco Asensio is a long-term absentee with a cruciate ligament injury.

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