Cristiano Ronaldo has not travelled for Real Madrid’s LaLiga clash with Espanyol on Tuesday in a bid to be as fresh as possible for the upcoming Champions League fixture against Paris Saint-Germain on March 6.
Madrid head to Espanyol having won each of their last four league games, but Ronaldo – who has been in remarkable form of late – is absent.
The Ballon d’Or holder has scored 10 goals in his last six league appearances, while he netted a brace in the first leg of the last-16 match against PSG, helping Madrid to a 3-1 win.
With the return meeting in Paris coming up, coach Zinedine Zidane has opted to leave Ronaldo in the capital in order to minimalise the risk of him picking up an injury ahead of that vital trip to France.
PSG saw star man Neymar suffer a fractured foot and a sprained ankle during Sunday’s win over Marseille, perhaps causing Zidane – who gave little indication as to Ronaldo’s absence during his pre-match news conference on Monday – to consider resting Ronaldo, particularly given their status in LaLiga.
Madrid head into the match in Catalonia 14 points adrift of pacesetters Barcelona, meaning the Champions League is arguably the only competition they still have a chance of winning.