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Real Madrid handed Marcelo fitness boost for El Clasico

The defender was doubtful after suffering knock against Viktoria Plzen.


Marcelo should be fit to face Barcelona (Mike Egerton/PA)

Marcelo should be fit to face Barcelona (Mike Egerton/PA)

Marcelo should be fit to face Barcelona (Mike Egerton/PA)

Real Madrid full-back Marcelo looks likely to be fit for Sunday’s Clasico against Barcelona after training as normal with the squad on Friday.

The Brazilian picked up an injury late in Tuesday’s 2-1 Champions League win over Viktoria Plzen to give under-pressure coach Julen Lopetegui a major injury headache.

But Marcelo joined his team-mates at Madrid’s training headquarters in Valdebebas on Friday and played a full role.

Speculation over Lopetegui’s future has dominated the build-up to Sunday’s match, with many expecting the former goalkeeper to have been shown the door after Tuesday’s unconvincing win.

Anything but a victory on Sunday seems certain to signal the end for a coach who only arrived in the summer – when news of his appointment on the eve of the World Cup saw him sacked as Spain boss before the tournament kicked off.

Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho and former Chelsea boss Antonio Conte have both been linked with the Madrid role – speculation which has reportedly exasperated goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois who played for both men in west London and is apparently not keen to do so again following his summer move to Real.

Madrid have struggled for goals in recent weeks, going four games without scoring before a 2-1 home defeat to Levante and the following victory over Plzen.

But they have a strong record at the Nou Camp, unbeaten in the last four visits, and Lucas Vazquez has presented an upbeat message from the dressing room.

“We’ve got exciting goals to aim for and we can’t wait for the big games like El Clasico,” the winger said. “It’s always such a special match. It’s crucial to go into it high on confidence and knowing what you’re playing for.

“They’re special games for the fans as well and we have to give it our best because they are decided by the finest of margins.

“So ultimately, the crucial thing is to believe in ourselves and our team-mates to play an intense game, with absolute focus and desire to win.

“We’re always obliged to win every game at Madrid and this would be particularly special.”