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The Welshman is confident that the fit-again France international will play an important role in the remainder of los Blancos' season.

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

The Frenchman, 20, had not started a game for los Blancos since the 5-1 Liga win over Real Sociedad in November of last year because of a knee problems.

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

"Varane is an incredible player and played very well," the Wales international told the official Madrid 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 again versus Atleti.

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

Varane has now made eight appearances in all competitions for Madrid so far this term.

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