Cristiano Ronaldo has been rested by coach Zidane for Real Madrid’s Copa del Rey clash with Sevilla at the Santiago Bernabeu, this Wednesday.
This decision, which was mutually agreed between the manager and his player before the start of the second round of the 2016/2017 campaign, comes as a big relief for third-placed La Liga side Sevilla. They will fancy their chances of getting a result as they look to eliminate Los Blancos from the Copa del Rey.
Indeed, the Andalusian contenders are the favorite opponents of the Portuguese international having conceded a record 22 goals off the boot of the talisman in all competitions — a figure which happens to be Ronaldo’s best tally against any club since his move to the La Liga.
However, the 31-year-old forward will all the same make an appearance at the Santiago Bernabeu. Ronaldo will present his fourth Ballon d’Or trophy to the home crowd before the commencement of the game on Wednesday night.
The Real Madrid faithful celebrated their main man with a golden tribute at the Bernabeu after he won the accolade for the third time, back in 2014. That year, he inspired Los Blancos to their historic “La Decima” triumph in the Champions League, the Copa del Rey, the FIFA Club World Cup and the UEFA Super Cup.
Coincidentally, Real Madrid played in the Copa del Rey on the day of that ceremony. But that time, it was against cross-town rivals Atletico Madrid. A Fernando Torres double was canceled out by skipper Sergio Ramos and Cristiano Ronaldo to end the game 2-2. Los Blancos lost the tie 4-2 on aggregate, having already conceded two goals away. They were subsequently eliminated from the Spanish Cup.
Cristiano Ronaldo will be hoping that tonight’s ceremony doesn’t cause distraction, in order to avoid a deja vu of that incident from a couple of years ago. Burdened by injuries, Zidane, who is also celebrating one year of his tenure as Real Madrid manager, has a massive task at hand. How to have a flying start in 2017 despite the absences of many key players?
His boys are currently on a joy-ride as they are unbeaten in the league this season with the streak stretching across a record 37 games in all competitions. Let’s hope the successful run continues, even with Ronaldo participating in the fixture as nothing more than a spectator.