Real's Sneijder recovering ahead of schedule

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Real Madrid midfielder Wesley Sneijder returned to training on Thursday, his first time on the pitch since he suffered a serious knee injury in the friendly match against Arsenal a month ago.

The creative midfielder left the pitch injured and feared for the worst. However, the pint-sized playmaker is recovering surprisingly quick.

"The recovery is going very well so far, but I don't want to be too positive just yet," Sneijder told De Telegraaf. "I was expected to be sidelined for at least three months, but it looks like I'm back a little bit quicker. However, I don't want to target a date to be fully fit again. I'm living day by day now and we'll see what happens."

Meanwhile, the Dutchman was gifted the No. 10 jersey at Madrid due to the transfer of Robinho.

"Of course, it's only a number, but it makes me feel proud to be wearing the No. 10 jersey," he said. "It remains a special number."

Additionally, Rafael van der Vaart was handed the previously vacant No. 23, last worn by David Beckham. The former HSV player had No. 23 for most of his career, but his number was taken by Sneijder before.