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 UD Las Palmas on Saturday.
Zidane replaced the three-time World Player of the Year with Madrid leading 2-1 18 minutes from time, but an unhappy Ronaldo watched from the bench as Sergio Araujo equalized to ensure Real dropped points for the second time in four days.
“I have to take him off sometimes and tonight we did it,” Zidane said. “That isn’t going to change what we are going to continue to do.”
At the forefront of Zidane’s mind was Real’s huge UEFA 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 cutback before halftime and fired straight at Javi Varas in the buildup 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,” Zidane said. “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 after he was also replaced early on his return from a knee-ligament injury against CA Osasuna earlier this month and missed the previous weekend’s win at RCD Espanyol due to illness.
Real’s lead over Barcelona at the top of the table now stands at a solitary point after they failed to bounce back from a 1-1 draw with Villarreal on Wednesday last week that snapped a 16-game winning streak in La Liga.
Of most concern for Madrid is their leaky defense, as they have now kept just one clean sheet in their past six games.
“Sometimes there are games like this where you have the chances to win and you don’t take them,” Zidane said. “I think there is a lack of concentration in the second goal. I have to analyze 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 Real Madrid’s front line most often sacrificed by Zidane this season as the Welshman was replaced in each of his previous three outings, but Bale looked back close to the form which saw him shine toward the end of last season and at Euro 2016, and believes Ronaldo will also need time to get back to 100 percent fitness following his two-month injury layoff after Euro 2016.
“He’s been working hard on his injuries since he came back,” Bale said. “He hasn’t had a pre-season like me and it takes a little bit of time.”
Bale is yet to score since the opening day of the La Liga season, but insists the goals will arrive if Real continue to create the number of chances they did in the Canary Islands.
“We’re not happy to lose four points, but if you look at the league overall we are in a good position,” he said. “You have to look at the positives. Of course we are disappointed, but we are still unbeaten. We are still creating chances and if we keep doing that we’ll score plenty of goals.”
In yesterday’s early kickoff, Valencia climbed out out the relegation zone when they came from behind to defeat CD Leganes 2-1 with goals from Nani and Mario Suarez at the Estadio Municipal de Butarque.
Additional reporting by staff writer
‘CRIMINAL ACT’: The UCI said it ‘strongly condemns’ Dylan Groenewegen’s ‘dangerous behavior,’ which left Jakobsen in critical condition and injured other cyclists Dutch cyclist Fabio Jakobsen was in a coma on Wednesday, in “serious” condition, after he was thrown into and over a barrier at 80kph in the conclusion to the opening stage of the Tour de Pologne. Footage showed 23-year-old Jakobsen, of the Deceuninck-Quick-Step, racing elbow-to-elbow with fellow Dutchman Dylan Groenewegen of Jumbo-Visma as both men frantically tussled in a tight sprint to the line in Katowice. However, Jakobsen came off worst, somersaulting over the barriers before colliding with a photographer after Groenewegen had veered suddenly to the right, squeezing his rival into the security wall. “His condition is very serious. His life is
WEEKEND MATCHES: While Tatung FC made good on their chances early on, Taiwan Steel rallied to win the game 2-3 and move to the top with Taichung Futuro Sunday’s action saw Taichung Futuro, Taipower FC and Taiwan Steel tied for first place on 30 points in the Taiwan Football Premier League, while Hang Yuan FC picked up a point to take the No. 4 spot on 25 points after holding Taipower to a scoreless draw. In Taoyuan, Tatung FC hosted Taiwan Steel. It was an exciting matchup, as the visitors rallied from 2-0 down to take the game with three goals. Tatung made good on their chances early on. Honduran midfielder Elias Argueta opened the account 15 minutes into the game with a low shot from the right. Three minutes
Ronnie O’Sullivan delivered a scathing attack on the next generation of snooker players after he made the quarter-finals of the World Snooker Championship on Sunday, ending Chinese star Ding Junhui’s world championship dream. The mercurial 44-year-old Englishman won an enthralling high-quality second-round encounter 13-10 to set up a quarter-final clash with three-time champion Mark Williams. When asked by the BBC whether he thought he would remain at the top of the game for this long, the Briton, who turned professional in 1992, said the poor quality of younger players had secured his position and that something drastic would have to happen
Max Verstappen informed his Red Bull team that he would not be driving “like a grandma” in Formula One’s 70th Anniversary Grand Prix on Sunday — and he was as good as his word. The Dutch 22-year-old seized his opportunity at Silverstone, ending dominant Mercedes’ run of four successive wins this season and moving up to second place overall, 30 points behind leader Lewis Hamilton. Verstappen’s confidence shone through early on, after slotting into third place behind the two Mercedes, when he was told by race engineer Gianpiero Lambiase to take care of his tires. “Mate, this is the only chance of being