Madrid: Real Madrid boss Carlo Ancelotti has insisted that midfielder Luka Modric will be fit by the time his side face Barcelona in a crucial La Liga clash on March 22.
Modric returned to training this week after three months out due to a torn thigh muscle.
The Croatian`s influence has been badly missed by the Madrid midfield in recent weeks as Barca have closed to within a point of Real at the top of the table, whilst Los Blancos were also dumped out of the Copa del Rey by city rivals Atletico Madrid.
Ancelotti has also been short on numbers in midfield as James Rodriguez faces two months on the sidelines due to a broken bone in his right foot, whilst Sami Khedira has a hamstring injury.
"He feels good, but we will take it slowly," Ancelotti said on Saturday.
"He hasn`t done a full session with the team yet, but he will do next week and by the 22nd he will be ready. We hope he can play before the Camp Nou."
Ancelotti will oversee his 100th game in charge of the European champions on Sunday night when they travel to Elche.
Despite winning four trophies in that time, the Italian`s hold on the job has been questioned in recent weeks, particularly after Real were humbled 4-0 by Atletico earlier this month.
However, the 55-year-old said he wasn`t concerned that talks over an extension to his contract, which runs until 2016, seem to have stalled and that the matter will be resolved at the end of the season.
"I feel valued and happy here. There is no rush for the renewal of my contract, we have a year-and-a-half.
"Since I arrived here I knew we need to win, but that isn`t something new, in all the teams I have coached the objective was to win titles. I don`t think I will renew only if we win.
"The end of the season will be a good time to talk about the renewal, but if not then there is no rush. I have a contract here until 2016."