Coach Zinedine Zidane has confirmed that Cristiano Ronaldo will not be in the squad to face Cultural y Deportiva Leonesa in the second leg of their Copa Del Rey Round of 32 tie.
After thrashing the third-tier side 7-1 away from home (in the absence of Ronaldo!), coach Zidane believes his number one asset’s services aren’t required to progress to the next round in the Spanish Cup.
“It’s a game for Ronaldo not to play,” Zidane stated as he addressed the pre-match press conference.
It is quite understandable as the job seems virtually done for Los Blancos. The Frenchman looks set to mainly field his side from the reserves in Wednesday’s encounter as they look forward to El Clasico on Saturday.
Castilla players such as Alvaro Tejero, Martin Odegaard and Enzo Zidane are in line to be given a run in the game. Also returning to the squad is midfield powerhouse Casemiro, who will be looking to test the waters before Saturday’s clash against Barcelona after being sidelined for a while with an injury.
As for Cristiano Ronaldo fans, this will be yet another fixture without the presence of the Portuguese goal poacher. One could argue that he actually needs such games to boost his morale.
Ronaldo has been a hotshot in front of goal in recent times, registering eight goals in his last four La Liga game. He is currently the league’s topscorer with 10 goals. Considering his form, it’s safe to say the 31-year-old superstar forward would have most likely gone on a goal mauling against a flimsy side such as Cultural.
Our friend Omar Momani penciled the situation…
— Omar Momani (@omomani) November 30, 2016
On the other hand, resting Ronaldo has most often paid dividends for Los Blancos. Ronaldo did not make the squad for the first leg of Real Madrid’s Copa del Rey fixture against Cultural. This, in spite of the fact that he was in a goal slump at the time.
A well-rested and rejuvenated CR7 then returned to action in Real Madrid’s next game; scoring a hat trick in a 4-1 victory against Deportivo Alaves. That withstanding, Zidane’s decision could be justified as one can’t rule out the possibility of Ronaldo gaining enough energy to put in a similar display against Barcelona on Saturday.
Either way, you be the judge!