Zinedine Zidane has decided to rest Cristiano Ronaldo as Real Madrid head into the return leg of their Copa del Rey Round of 16 clash with a 3-0 lead from the first leg.
Real Madrid hold a seemingly unassailable 3-0 lead from the first leg as Zidane and his men travel to Sevilla to seal a quarter-final berth in the prestigious Spanish cup event. And given the commanding nature of the lead, the French legend has chosen to tap into the invaluable depth of his squad for the match.
Zidane has confirmed in the pre-match conference that he is set to rest the superstar duo of Cristiano Ronaldo and Luka Modric, with neither of the the two named in the travelling squad. Also an absentee from the squad is the hero of the first leg, James Rodriguez who, as Zidane confirmed, has a calf injury and has not been risked.
Ramos returns! (Picture Courtesy – AFP/Getty Images)
Zidane said,“ James has a problem in the calf. We don’t want to risk it, but it’s a small thing. We have a lot of games to play and we’ll see how it evolves.”
On the other hand, the manager confirmed the return of captain Sergio Ramos and forward Lucas Vazquez to the fold. In Zidane’s words,“ They’re both in. Sergio, as captain, will be with us. And Lucas, too. He has no problem and will be with us.”
The match could serve as another opportunity for the seemingly second-choice players to impress Zidane and stake their claims on a more integral role in the first-team setup. The match could also serve as another appearance for Zidane’s son Enzo Zidane, who has been named in the travelling squad.
On the other hand, Sevilla coach Jorge Sampaoli has hinted that new signing Stevan Jovetic, who arrives on a loan deal from Inter Milan, might get some playing time in the Copa del Rey tie. The Argentine boss also iterated the point that the game serves as a final for Sevilla.
Even though a triumph on aggregate over the two legs looks nigh impossible, Sampaoli ensured the fans that his team shall fight to the very end to attempt to do the impossible.