La Liga 2016/17: Real Madrid superstar trio to miss trip to Eibar
What’s the story?
Cristiano Ronaldo is set to miss Real Madrid’s trip to Eibar, with Zinedine Zidane hinting that the Portuguese superstar will not make the trip – with reports suggesting that he is being saved for Madrid’s UEFA Champions League clash against Napoli. In addition, Gareth Bale and Alvaro Morata are set to miss the tie due to suspension, which compounds the striking issues facing Real Madrid.
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Real Madrid’s trip to Eibar would ordinarily not be a crucial fixture on the La Liga calendar, but given Los Blancos’ troubles recently, it has assumed a great significance. The Ipurua is not the easiest of places to go to – despite a capacity of 7000, Eibar have an excellent home record – in 14 games this season, they have won 8 times, drawing thrice while losing 3 games – which has seen them rise up the table, currently sitting in 7th place.
The heart of the matter
The selection issues for Real Madrid could not have come at a worse time – Madrid have been stuttering recently, with their last game being a last-gasp 3-3 draw with 10 men after being down 3-1 to Las Palmas at the Santiago Bernabeu. Gareth Bale was sent off in that game and has consequently picked up a two-match ban, although Real Madrid plan to appeal against that decision.
Alvaro Morata is also suspended for the game after an accumulation of yellow cards. The biggest miss for Real Madrid, however, is that of Cristiano Ronaldo. The Portuguese striker missed training ahead of the game, and in his pre-match press conference, Zinedine Zidane revealed, why, saying “He has a recurring problem and that is why he has not trained with us today. Every game is important, but the most important thing is for the player to be well that is why we will see what we do with Cristiano.”
A trip to the Ipurua is a daunting task that has been exacerbated by the loss of the star trio. It could offer up chances for James Rodriguez, Mariano Diaz and Lucas Vazquez to occupy the other attacking roles alongside Karim Benzema, as Zidane rings in the changes.
While conventional wisdom would suggest that Zidane is taking a huge risk in resting Ronaldo, Real Madrid have enough quality in depth to see off Eibar and get their title challenge back on track. Napoli is undoubtedly the tougher challenge, and Real Madrid do need a fit and firing Ronaldo for that clash.