Real Madrid winger Gareth Bale will return to the starting line-up this weekend against Rayo Vallecano after the Welshman successfully played the final 30 minutes against Liverpool on Tuesday, coach Carlo Ancelotti said.
Champions Atletico Madrid made a sluggish start to the defence of their La Liga title with a 0-0 draw against Rayo Vallecano while a header from Karim Benzema and a late Cristiano Ronaldo strike helped Real Madrid beat promoted Cordoba 2-0.
Real Madrid went into last Sunday`s `Clasico` against Barcelona aiming to land a decisive blow in the title race but a week later, they take on Rayo Vallecano with serious questions over their own La Liga credentials.
Barcelona may have been well short of their best since Christmas but they remain alive in all competitions and can look forward to welcoming back Brazilian forward Neymar to reinforce their frontline against Rayo Vallecano in La Liga this weekend.
Barca`s 4-0 thrashing of AC Milan on Tuesday night restored the self-confidence of a side that had been looking as if their season could evaporate in a three week period, which had previously seen them knocked out of the Copa del Rey, by bitter rivals Real Madrid.