Illarramendi nears Real Madrid debut

Los Blancos coach Carlo Ancelotti was left short of options in midfield following Xabi Alonso's injury, but the 23-year-old and Sami Khedira are close to returning to action
Carlo Ancelotti’s midfield options will soon be strengthened by the imminent returns of Asier Illarramendi and Sami Khedira.

Madrid’s summer signing from Real Sociedad has yet to appear for the club after picking up a muscle injury sustained during pre-season.

But the Spain Under-21 international completed a full training session on Tuesday as he builds up fitness ahead of his first team bow.

Illarramendi undertook fitness drills put on for all members of the Blancos squad who did not start Monday night’s 1-0 win over Granada.

The 23-year-old trained at the same intensity as the rest of the Galacticos and is set to take part with the complete squad when they reconvene on Wednesday.

Meanwhile, there was also positive news on Sami Khedira, who trained alone with no ill effects following a left knee knock picked up on the opening weekend against Betis.

Those absences have been compounded by a lengthy layoff to Xabi Alonso, leaving coach Ancelotti short of numbers in the centre of the park.

Last season’s Liga runners-up have been underwhelming in a pair of narrow wins at the start of the campaign, and face Athletic Bilbao at the Santiago Bernabeu on Sunday.