Real Madrid's Cristiano Ronaldo rested for La Liga trip to Leganes
Real Madrid forward Cristiano Ronaldo was rested for Wednesday's rescheduled La Liga trip to Leganes, as coach Zinedine Zidane looked to avoid any further fitness worries ahead of their Champions League round-of-16 second leg at Paris Saint-Germain on March 6.
Zidane was able to count on all his big names for last week's 3-1 first leg victory over PSG, but has since seen Toni Kroos [knee], Marcelo [hamstring] and Luka Modric [hamstring] pick up issues which mean all three are currently in a race to regain fitness for the Paris trip. Goalkeeper Keylor Navas was also left out of the squad.
Zidane spoke at his prematch news conference on Tuesday of the importance of managing the playing time of Ronaldo, now 33, and the Portuguese himself suggested he had been given a day off with a tweet posted later that evening.
Love is in the air ❤️❤️ pic.twitter.com/cwyBIQNaBQ— Cristiano Ronaldo (@Cristiano) February 20, 2018
Theo Hernandez, Karim Benzema, Isco and Raphael Varane are expected to all come into Madrid's starting XI, against a Leganes side which embarrassingly eliminated Madrid from the Copa del Rey at the Bernabeu last month.
A victory in the game which was pushed back due to December's Club World Cup would see Madrid move past Valencia into third place in the table, although they would still be seven points behind second placed Atletico Madrid, and 14 adrift of runaway leaders Barcelona.
Zidane said on Tuesday that he remains optimistic that Madrid's medical staff will have all of Kroos, Modric and Marcelo available for the PSG second leg, although Marca's front cover Wednesday morning suggesting that Blancos fans were currently "on tenterhooks" worrying that the super important trio would not be back in time.
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