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Asensio and Bale boost Madrid after injury layoffs

Asensio and Bale boost Madrid after injury layoffs
FILE PHOTO: Soccer Football - La Liga Santander - SD Huesca v Real Madrid - Estadio El Alcoraz, Huesca, Spain - December 9, 2018 Real Madrid's Marco Asensio comes on as a substitute to replace Gareth Bale REUTERS/Vincent West   -   Copyright  Vincent West(Reuters)
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MADRID (Reuters) – Real Madrid forwards Marco Asensio and Gareth Bale both returned to full training on Friday after injury layoffs, handing the European champions a boost in attack three weeks before their Champions League last-16 tie with Ajax Amsterdam.

Spain international Asensio has been out for over a month with a thigh injury sustained during Madrid’s Club World Cup campaign, while their record signing Bale has been sidelined since a 2-2 draw at Villarreal in early January with a calf problem.

Despite their pedigree, Asensio and Bale both face a daunting task in attempting to win a place back in the team ahead of Brazilian teenager Vinicius Jr, who has spearheaded Madrid’s return to form in an otherwise disappointing season.

Santiago Solari’s side lie third in La Liga, 10 points behind leaders Barcelona, but earned a fourth win in five games in all competitions by beating Girona 4-2 in a Copa del Rey quarter-final, first leg on Thursday.

That win followed a therapeutic 2-0 victory over Sevilla in the league in their previous outing.

“We are playing well, at the start of the year we had two slipups which didn’t help us at all, but now we are feeling good again and believe we can achieve great things,” said Madrid winger Lucas Vazquez on Friday at a promotional event.

“The best way to fight for the Copa del Rey and the Champions League is to do well in the league. We are on a good run now and the way we played in the last two games is the way we want to go.”

(Reporting by Richard Martin; Editing by Toby Davis)

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