La Liga: Real Madrid rest Cristiano Ronaldo for Espanyol clash, want to keep him fresh for PSG game
Real Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane is giving Cristiano Ronaldo a break and has left him out of the 19-man squad to face Espanyol in La Liga on Tuesday.
Madrid: Real Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane is giving Cristiano Ronaldo a break and has left him out of the 19-man squad to face Espanyol in La Liga on Tuesday.
But Gareth Bale and Karim Benzema are both included in the squad, a week before the second leg of the Champions League last 16 against Paris Saint-Germain.
"It is very important to always keep Cristiano in peak form. He knows that from time to time he must rest," Zidane told a press conference on Monday, suggesting that the decision was mutual.
"He knows this very well and we talk, as always, a great deal."
It will be the second time in three games that the coach has not picked the Portuguese star. Ronaldo also missed the league game against Leganes last Wednesday, which Real won 3-1.
Brazilian midfielder Casemiro will likewise miss the game with a reported stomach problem. Zidane has called up 19-year-old Oscar from the academy team.
Ronaldo's future had been in doubt after a difficult campaign during which Juventus lost their Serie A crown after nine years, exited the Champions League in the last 16 and only sealed fourth place and elite European football on the final day.
Ronaldo won the Golden Boot with five goals, the same as Patrick Schick of the Czech Republic who was also overlooked by UEFA’s expert panel of 16 coaches and former players.
In his previous contract, signed in 2017, Messi earned a massive 138 million euros ($163 million) per season.