Sunday 25 March 2018

Real put Ronaldo on ice for decider

Cristiano Ronaldo of Real Madrid
Cristiano Ronaldo of Real Madrid

Real Madrid top scorer Cristiano Ronaldo is out of today's La Liga match at Celta Vigo.

The Portugal captain, who has been struggling with minor injuries in recent weeks, limped out of Wednesday's 1-1 draw at Real Valladolid with an apparent thigh strain.

With the Champions League final against Atletico Madrid on May 24 looming, it had been decided not to risk aggravating the injury, coach Carlo Ancelotti said.

"Cristiano Ronaldo is not playing because he is not at 100 percent and I prefer not to take risks," said former Chelsea manager Ancelotti.

Midfielder Angel Di Maria and defenders Pepe, Raphael Varane and Dani Carvajal are also unavailable due to injury.

Real need a win in Vigo to keep alive their faint hopes of pipping leaders Atletico and second-placed Barcelona to the title.

With two games left, Atletico have 88 points, Barca 85 and Real 84 in third after consecutive draws that look to have wrecked their chances of a treble of Champions League, La Liga and Copa del Rey.

Atletico host Malaga today and Barca play at Elche, and the top two meet at Barca's Nou Camp stadium on the final day of the season next weekend.

"We have to beat Celta and hope because in this league there have been a lot of surprises and there could be more," added Ancelotti, putting a brave face on the absence of his best player.

"We will try to do our best because at this point there is nothing decided in mathematical terms."

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