Real Madrid have been boosted ahead of the Club World Cup as injured duo Nacho Fernandez and Casemiro are expected to return to full fitness ahead of schedule.
Both players picked up their injuries in the 4-2 win over Celta Vigo on November 11, with midfielder Casemiro spraining his right ankle, while defender Nacho sustained ligament damage to his right knee that was expected to keep him out for around two months.
However, both players look likely to be available for head coach Santiago Solari, as they appear set to make a timely return to fitness and travel to the United Arab Emirates for Real Madrid's Club World Cup semi-final on December 19.
Mariano Diaz and Isco are among other stars at the club to have faced injury layoffs, and Solari was recently forced to withdraw Gareth Bale after an hour of his side's 2-0 win over Valencia. He attempted to play down fears over the forward's fitness afterwards, however.
The recovery of Nacho and Casemiro marks the end of an injury crisis, particularly in defence, for Los Blancos, however, with the likes of Marcelo, Raphael Varane, Dani Carvajal, Sergio Reguillon and Jesus Vallejo all spending time out injured this season as the club have been forced to use inexperienced players and have struggled domestically. They currently sit fifth in the league, two points behind local rivals Atletico and five off league leaders Barcelona.
However, Solari's appointment after the sacking of former Spain head coach Julen Lopetegui has brought positive results, winning six of his seven games in charge so far, and he will hope that the return of Nacho and Casemiro will help extend the club's recent good form.
The Club World Cup, like the Champions League, is a valued competition at the Bernabeu, particularly considering they face the mouthwatering prospect of potentially playing River Plate or Boca Juniors.
In the intervening period, Real Madrid face a trip to Huesca and host Rayo Vallecano in La Liga as well as their final group stage game in the Champions League against CSKA Moscow, where a point would be enough to clinch them top spot.