Gareth Bale has taken a step closer to returning to action this week following his ankle injury as he began training at Real Madrid once again.

Bale has been out of action since he had surgery on an ankle tendon problem last November. However, this week Real Madrid tweeted a photograph of the player training with his teammates at their home ground.

This is not only good news for Real Madrid but also for Wales boss Chris Coleman ahead of next month’s all important World Cup qualifying game against the Republic of Ireland in Dublin. At present Wales are third in Qualifying Group D, four points below the Irish, who are leading the group with three wins and a draw from the four games so far.

Coleman has said that he will soon fly to Spain to check on Bale’s progress and assess the situation.

“I’d forgot all about Gareth Bale to be honest,” Coleman joked. “I’m about to go out there to see how he’s progressing. I’m told that he’s doing okay.”

He went on to say that they were aware of what kind of injury Bale had and the expected recovery time and said that everything is on track. He added, “It’s nice to see him on the pitch again with a ball at his feet.”

Last week the Real Madrid manager Zinedine Zidane said that he hoped that Bale will be able to return to action in time for the team’s Champions League round of 16 second leg match against Napoli on March 7th.

Despite the absence of Bale, Real has managed to maintain their position at the top of the La Liga table and hold off pressure from Barcelona. Last weekend’s 3 – 1 win at Osasuna put the team a point clear of their rivals with two games in hand.