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The Welshman is confident that the fit-again France international defender will play an important role in the remainder of Los Blancos' season after his first-team return

Gareth Bale has praised Raphael Varane after the defender made an impressive return to the Real Madrid line-up in Tuesday's 2-0 Copa del Rey win over Atletico Madrid.

The Frenchman had not started a game for Los Blancos since the 5-1 Primera Division win over Real Sociedad in November because of a knee problems.

Having suffered his own injury woe this season, Bale was delighted to see the centre-back make his full comeback, after a cameo against Athletic Bilbao earlier in February.

"Varane is an incredible player and played very well," the Wales international told the club's official website.

"It is great to have him back to help us to be stronger for what remains of the season."

Varane, meanwhile, was equally pleased to have featured for the full 90 minutes against Atleti.

"I felt great. It is great to be back out on the field after so long," the France international enthsued.

"We're going to see how the knee responds over the next few days, to see if it swells. I haven't had any problems during the match and I have trained hard to get to this point.

"So far I have played one match and we'll see if I can play two in a row. The team needs all of the players and we have to be ready if we want to win titles. Everyone is thinking about that."