Gareth Bale, Cristiano Ronaldo, Karim Benzema all out of Real Madrid squad
Real Madrid's "BBC" strike force of Gareth Bale, Karim Benzema and Cristiano Ronaldo will all miss out when Real Madrid travel to play Sporting Gijon in La Liga on Saturday.
Coach Zinedine Zidane confirmed that Bale has a new calf injury and will miss the trip, while he is also a doubt for Tuesday's Champions League quarterfinal second leg against Bayern Munich.
Zidane then left both Ronaldo and Benzema out of the squad, announced later on Friday, with an eye on Bayern as well as the Clasico against Barcelona the following weekend.
Bale limped out of Wednesday's 2-1 first-leg win at Bayern, having previously suffered six separate problems with his calf during his first three seasons in Madrid, and having missed three months of the current campaign with an ankle injury.
Zidane told a news conference that the latest injury is another calf issue, and the Wales international's condition is now a worry as Madrid head into the most important part of the season.
"Bale will not be with us tomorrow, that's clear," Zidane said. "Then we will see for Tuesday. For sure he has something, a bit of a bruise in his calf. It's a muscle injury, where he has had problems before.
"And we will take no risks with Gareth. We will go game by game and make decisions that way. We hope to have him back soon. Of course I am worried as I don't like to have players injured, even more towards the end of the season."
Sporting have won just one of their last 15 meetings with Madrid in all competitions, but badly need the points as they sit 18th in La Liga, five points adrift of safety, with just seven games of the season remaining.
A win for Zidane's side will consolidate their position at the top of the standings, but he accepted that Saturday's game was a potential banana skin.
"They are a top-flight team who maybe have had difficulties over the season," he said. "But in a one-off game they can do you damage. We know this is a very important game. We will have to play another great game to get the three points."
Madrid travel north with just two fit centre-backs in Sergio Ramos and Nacho Fernandez, given the injuries to Pepe and Raphael Varane.
Zidane said he did not plan to call on any backup from the club's Castilla reserve side, while adding that rarely used left-back Fabio Coentrao could get a runout against Sporting.
"We will use the players that we have, we have enough for a defence tomorrow," he said. "We will be positive and hope that no other players get injured. Fabio will be with us. He is much better now, training without problems, and tomorrow he has a chance to play."
Dermot Corrigan is a Madrid-based football writer who covers La Liga and the Spain national team for ESPN FC. Follow him on Twitter @dermotmcorrigan