Gareth Bale and Cristiano Ronaldo missed Real Madrid's training session on Thursday (28 September) as Los Blancos began preparations for Sunday's [1 October] encounter with Espanyol. The news is a fresh concern for Zinedine Zidane as Karim Benzema, Mateo Kovavic, Marcelo and Theo Hernandez are already ruled out for the La Liga encounter with Barcelona's neighbours due to different injuries.
Bale and Ronaldo both started and played a crucial role in the 3-1 victory over Borussia Dortmund in their Champions League group stage clash on Tuesday night.
The Welshman opened the scoring with a superb volley in the 18<sup>th minute of the game before Ronaldo netted a brace to send Los Blancos top of Group H, level with Tottenham Hotspur with six points from the first two games.
However, Real Madrid have revealed that the two stars stayed in the gym while the rest of their available teammates returned to training on Thursday morning.
"After a hard-fought win at Signal Iduna Park, Real Madrid have returned to training and now turn their focus to the LaLiga tie against Espanyol, which will be played this Sunday (8:45pm CEST) at the Santiago Bernabéu. Zidane's squad focussed mainly on ball work, and the coach saw fit to involve Tejero, Quezada, Óscar and Jaime from the youth team," Real Madrid informed in club official website.
"Cristiano Ronaldo and Bale trained using the indoor facilities, while Kovacic, Marcelo, Theo and Benzema continue their respective recovery processes. Theo and Benzema also headed out to the pitch to work on tailor-made fitness programmes."
The reason behind Ronaldo's absence from the workout is uncertain but Bale's is a concerning one after the Welshman was forced off during the win over Dortmund with five minutes remaining due to a cramp.
Zidane then allayed fears over the Welshman's fitness by ruling out a major injury problem.
"I hope that there are more turning points like tonight's, but Gareth is now on really good form. His calf has swelled up but it's nothing major," Zidane said in the press conference following the victory over Dortmund.
"He hasn't had it easy and I'm delighted for him. Getting a goal like that is fantastic for him. This game will have done wonders for him and if you give him the space he's lethal, he's just so good."
However, his availability for the Sunday's game against Espanyol looks now under question amid reports in Spain claiming that the player is set to undergo a scan to see whether he has picked up a muscle injury.
Bale's potential absence against the Barcelona-based side would be another concern for Zidane as Benzema, Kovavic, Marcelo and Hernandez will definitely miss the game due to various injuries.
Real Madrid will be looking to secure the three points against Espanyol following a disappointing start to La Liga, having already fallen seven points behind leaders Barcelona after only six games.