Real Madrid star Gareth Bale has given club and country a boost by returning to training after three months out with an ankle injury.
Bale has not played since November because of surgery to correct the problem, but Real Madrid tweeted a photograph of the 27-year-old training at their headquarters on Sunday.
News of Bale’s imminent return will please Wales boss Chris Coleman ahead of next month’s vital World Cup qualifier against the Republic of Ireland in Dublin.
Wales are third in Qualifying Group D, four points behind the Irish, who lead the group with three wins and a draw from their four games so far.
Real manager Zinedine Zidane said on Friday that he hoped Bale would be back in action for Madrid by the time of their Champions League last-16 second leg against Napoli on March 7.
Without Bale Madrid have maintained their position at the top of the LaLiga table, despite intense pressure from Barcelona.
Saturday’s 3-1 win at Osasuna means Real are a point clear of their rivals with two games in hand.
Bale later Tweeted another photograph of the training session and said: “First day back on the training pitch with the boys! Can’t wait to be back in action now.”