Cristiano Ronaldo to play full Real Madrid Bernabeu Trophy game
Cristiano Ronaldo is to play all 90 minutes in Real Madrid's Trofeo Bernabeu game against Fiorentina on Wednesday -- even as he continues to rail against perceived "injustices" suffered since he last played a home game.
Ronaldo has not featured at the Bernabeu since May, and cannot appear there again until the La Liga clash with Real Betis on Sept. 20 because of a five-match ban imposed for pushing the referee after being sent off during the Spanish Super Cup first leg win against Barcelona.
Even though the extra four-game punishment for pushing the referee was the shortest possible under the Spanish federation's regulations, Ronaldo again criticised the decision and his treatment at the hands of the authorities when the ban was confirmed on Tuesday, with the Portugal captain also having been angered this summer by having to appear in court to face charges of a €14.7 million tax fraud.
The suspension does not affect his participation in Wednesday's match at the Bernabeu however, and Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane told RMTV that the game was an opportunity for Ronaldo and other players who have not featured so much recently to improve their match fitness.
"It's an important game for the fans," Zidane said. "This year it falls after the first La Liga matchday and we'll be trying to deliver a good performance, but above all, we'll be looking to ensure that the players get more playing time under their belts.
"We're in good shape fitness-wise and there are players like Cristiano Ronaldo who are going to start the game and play the full 90 minutes. We want the trophy to remain here and we're aiming to put in a good performance."
Summer signings Theo Hernandez and Dani Ceballos are also expected to start against Fiorentina, along with youngsters Marcos Llorente and Borja Mayoral, who have returned from loan spells elsewhere.
Castilla youth-team players expected to feature include right-back Achraf Hakimi, centre-back Manu Hernando and versatile defender Alvaro Tejero. Zidane's son Luca, a 19-year-old goalkeeper who is now third choice for the senior side, could also get some minutes.
Mateo Kovacic and Raphael Varane are definitely unavailable, as they are still recovering from knocks which saw them miss last weekend's 3-0 La Liga season opener at Deportivo La Coruna.
"The Whites were joined by Castilla players Luca, Manu Hernando and Alvaro Tejero for a session in which the Madridistas completed control and passing drills and skill exercises," a club statement said on Tuesday. "The workout was rounded off with a training match and crossing and finishing drills. Raphael Varane and Mateo Kovacic worked out indoors, whilst Jesus Vallejo trained alone out on the pitches as he continues with his recovery programme."
This is the 38th edition of the traditional Trofeo Bernabeu fixture, with Fiorentina the guests this year to mark the 60th anniversary of Madrid beating the Serie A side 2-0 when they hosted the 1957 European Cup final.
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