Cristiano Ronaldo and Gareth Bale will return to action for Real Madrid’s La Liga game with Villarreal on Wednesday, Coach Zinedine Zidane said. Ronaldo, Real’s all-time top scorer, missed Sunday’s 2-0 win at Espanyol with a sore throat while record signing Bale was out with a hip injury sustained in the Champions League win over Sporting Lisbon.

The return of Bale and Ronaldo means Zidane will be able to start with his first choice front three – Bale, Ronaldo and Karim Benzema – for the first time in a league game this season. Veteran defender Pepe, however, will miss out after finishing the Espanyol game injured and goalkeeper Keylor Navas has still not recovered from surgery on his Achilles.

The European champions needed an 89th-minute equaliser and a stoppage-time winner to beat Sporting last week in the Champions League, and had nervous moments against Espanyol before Benzema sealed the points. Zidane, however, shrugged off the negative comments.

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