‘ Live with being subbed’
> Zidane’s advice to an off-form and sulking Ronaldo replaced in the second half
REAL MADRID coach Zinedine Zidane insisted Cristiano Ronaldo has to learn to live with being substituted after sulking off the field visibly frustrated in the European champions’ 2-2 draw at Las Palmas.
Zidane replaced the three-time World Player of the Year with Madrid leading 21 18 minutes from time, but an unhappy Ronaldo watched from the bench as Sergio Araujo equalised to ensure Real dropped points for the second time in four days.
“I have to take him off sometimes and tonight we did it,” said Zidane.
“That isn’t going to change what we are going to do continue to do.”
At the forefront of Zidane’s mind was Real’s huge Champions League clash away to Borussia Dortmund tomorrow.
However, Ronaldo endured a poor night in front of goal as he fluffed a great chance from Alvaro Morata’s cut-back before halftime and fired straight at Javi Varas in the build-up to Madrid’s second goal.
“We have a game on Tuesday and I thought it was the time to take him off, 20 minutes from the end, thinking about Tuesday,” added Zidane.
“I know he always wants to play and always wants to stay on the field, but I also have to think about the players and for me it was best to rest and think about Tuesday.”
Ronaldo has completed 90 minutes just twice this season, though, as he was also replaced early on his return from a knee ligament injury against Osasuna earlier this month and missed last weekend’s win at Espanyol due to illness.
Real’s lead over Barcelona at the top of the table now stands at a solitary point having failed to bounce back from a 1-1 draw with Villarreal on Wednesday that snapped a 16-game winning streak in La Liga.
Of most concern for Madrid is their leaky defence as they have now kept just one clean sheet in their last six games.
“Sometimes there are games like this where you have the chances to win and you don’t take them,” continued Zidane.
“I think there is a lack of concentration in the second goal. I have to analyse it, but I am not going to complain. Playing like this for 90 minutes we will be at the top of the league I have no doubt.”
Gareth Bale had been the star member of Madrid’s front line most often sacrificed by Zidane in recent weeks as the Welshman was replaced in each of his last three outings.
However, Bale looked close to being back to the form which saw him shine towards the end of last season and at Euro 2016 and believes Ronaldo will also need time to get back to 100% fitness following his two-month injury layoff after the Euros. – AFP
Real Madrid forward Cristiano Ronaldo (left) heads into the ground while closely marked by Las Palmas’ Jonathan Viera and Dani Castellano (right) during their Spanish Liga match at the Gran Canaria Stadiumin Las Palmas de Gran Canaria yesterday.