Villa returns to Atletico Madrid training

The 32-year-old was put through the paces for the first time since suffering a hamstring strain against Real Sociedad a couple of weeks ago and is close to making his comeback
David Villa is on the verge of making his Atletico Madrid comeback after undergoing his first training session since suffering a hamstring strain.

The news comes as a welcome boost for Atleti who return to Champions League action on February 19 with a trip to San Siro for a last-16 tie against AC Milan.

Villa picked up in the injury in Atletico's 4-0 victory over Real Sociedad and returned to training on Thursday after missing a couple of weeks of action, including the Copa del Rey semi-final defeat to Real Madrid and La Liga loss to Almeria.

The 32-year-old is seen as a vital part of Diego Simeone's plans, but the chances of him being rushed immediately back into the first team for this weekend's clash against Real Valladolid are slim and is likely to start on the bench, according to reports in Spain.

Another first-team star, goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois, is still sidelined with back spasms and will not makes his return this weekend, while full-back Javier Manquillo is out after sustaining a neck injury against Madrid.

Third-placed Atletico will be hoping to put their slight dip in form behind them when they host Valladolid on Saturday.