Bale returns to Real starting XI for Ajax clash

Gareth Bale returned to Real Madrid's starting line-up for their Champions League last-16 first leg away to Ajax on Wednesday.

Bale had been a substitute for Madrid's previous two games against Barcelona and Atletico Madrid but, after scoring off the bench against Atletico, the Welshman was reinstated by Santiago Solari.

Marcelo, however, missed out as the 22-year-old Sergio Reguilon kept his place at left-back.

For Ajax, Frenkie de Jong was passed fit to start. The midfielder will be under extra scrutiny ahead of his 75 million-euro ($85 million) move to Barcelona next summer.

Ajax (4-5-1)

Andre Onana; Noussair Mazraoui, Matthijs de Ligt (capt), Daley Blind, Nicolas Tagliafico; Lasse Schone, Frenkie de Jong; Hakim Ziyech, Donny van de Beek, David Neres; Dusan Tadic

Real Madrid (4-3-3)

Thibaut Courtois; Dani Carvajal, Nacho, Sergio Ramos (capt), Sergio Reguilon; Toni Kroos, Casemiro, Luka Modric; Gareth Bale, Karim Benzema, Vinicius Junior

Referee: Damir Skomina (SLO)

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