Look away Martin O'Neill! Gareth Bale return from injury with a bang
Gareth Bale made a spectacular return for Real Madrid on Saturday, as he scored just 12 minutes into his comeback after a three-month injury lay-off.
The Welshman made an appearance as a second half substitute in the La Liga clash against Espanyol and quickly confirmed his fitness as he burst into the box and produced a sparkling finish to seal a 2-0 victory for Real Madrid.
The news will come as a huge boost to Wales boss Chris Coleman, who admitted he was concerned about the fitness of his star man after he underwent ankle surgery in December.
Initial reports had suggested that Bale may be out of action until April, yet Independent.ie reported that he could make a comeback in February and that proved to be the case as he replaced Alvaro Morata 71 minutes into the game at the Bernabeu on Saturday.
Real Madrid boss Zinedine Zidane had hinted that Bale could make his return this weekend, with his £86m man returning to full training with his team-mates last week, with the instant impact he made exceeding expectations.
Bale now looks certain to be fully fit for the Ireland game at the Aviva Stadium, as well as a vital few weeks for his club side as they look to cement their position as Spanish title favourites and continue their defence of the Champions League trophy.