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. – AFP