Zinedine Zidane has decided to keep star forwards Cristiano Ronaldo and Karim Benzema out of his matchday squad for Real Madrid’s La Liga game against Real Sociedad.
Both Ronaldo and Benzema have been suffering from injuries, and Zidane has confirmed that he will not be risking them for the Sociedad match as Real Madrid have a crucial Champions League semi final second leg coming up against Manchester City.
The Real Madrid attack (void of Ronaldo) was left toothless when they came up against an able Manchester City defence in midweek. While the return leg at the Santiago Bernabeu could be a different proposition for Los Blancos with the home crowd behind them, Zidane would still want his best players fit for the crucial game.
However, Zizou believes that Ronaldo’s thigh injury is “under control” and the Portuguese star will be rested against Sociedad so that he can feature in the midweek tie.
“He [Ronaldo] had something else, but the most important thing is that it is under control. The key thing is that he recovers as soon as possible so that he can play on Wednesday because tomorrow he will not feature,” Zidane was quoted saying on Real Madrid’s official website. “He will work as hard as possible everyday in order to be fit for Wednesday.”
Meanwhile, French striker Karim Benzema, who hobbled off with a hamstring injury in midweek, could have his season cut short with just three league matches to go. However, Zidane says that the Real Madrid medical staff are hoping that the 28 year old will be fit in time for the Manchester City match.
“The closing stages of the season will be very difficult but I can’t go into details because I’m not a doctor. He [Benzema] has a grade 1 injury and that says a lot. It could last seven days, eight,” said Zidane.
“The important thing is that I think he could be back to 100% for Wednesday and it’s vital to see how he works and trains to feature in Wednesday’s game. I don’t think we should say his season is over because he really wants to play with us,” he continued.
Has Zidane already prioritised Champions League over La Liga?
Real Madrid are fighting on both the domestic ad the European fronts. Being just one point behind Barcelona in the league, they find themselves in a situation where they must win all of their three remaining La Liga matches.
However, Real Madrid (on 81 points) will also have to bank on both Barcelona and Atletico Madrid (both on 82 points) to slip up in these last three games in order to harbour any hopes of winning the league. With this in mind, the Champions League trophy could be a more viable option for Los Blancos to go after. Zidane might have already made that choice in his head, as he prepares to rest Ronaldo for the Champions League semi final.