Zidane confirms absence of Cristiano, Bale against Espanyol

Madrid, Sep 17 (IANS) Real Madrid French coach Zinedine Zidane said on Saturday that Portuguese Cristiano Ronaldo and Welshman Gareth Bale will not appear against Espanyol football club on Sunday in the fourth round of La Liga.

At a press conference, the French coach explained that both players will not appear on Sunday because the Portuguese star was unable to train during the past two days because of a sore throat, while Bale suffered a blow during Wednesday’s victory in the Champions League clash against Sporting Lisbon.

“Cristiano will not be travelling with us as he has a sore throat. He will be staying in Madrid. He is simply not ready, we won’t be taking risks with anyone and least of all with him,” Zidane said.

“Gareth took a big knock to the hip so we won’t be risking him. The players all want to play, but we’re playing every three days, we have a lot of games, and we can’t risk such an important player.”

“This is a group, so they are all key components, and when someone has an issue it is better for someone else to play. We always think with a group mentality,” he added.

The coach also highlighted the importance of rotating the players as the side will play 60 games during the season.

“We always try to make rotations, so that everyone feels important and they feel like they can play at any moment. You will always need all of the players and I’m lucky to have a great squad, with important players.”

“They all have to play and that is my idea. We will be playing 60 games and back when I played it was 30 or 35. We will need everyone ready in order to achieve our aim,” he added.

Real Madrid leads La Liga with nine points, while Espanyol holds 15th position with just two points.

–IANS

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