Two mega stars, Cristiano Ronaldo and Gareth Bale, will not feature for Real Madrid when the Spanish giants travel to face Espanyol on Sunday at the RCDE Stadium in the La Liga. The Portuguese has a sore throat and the Wales star received a knock in their last Champions League match, but Real Madrid still possesses a strong squad to yield positive result.
Manager Zinedine Zidane stated that he did not want to take risk by playing the duo. The Frenchman has every right to take such decisions considering that the season is so fresh, and Real Madrid needs Ronaldo and Bale to be fit throughout the season.
"Cristiano will not be travelling with us as he has a sore throat. He will be staying in Madrid. He is simply not ready, we won't be taking risks with anyone and least of all with him. Gareth took a big knock to the hip so we won't be risking him. The players all want to play, but we're playing every three days, we have a lot of games, and we can't risk such an important player," Real Madrid's official website quoted Zidane as saying.
Real Madrid have been brilliant so far in the La Liga, winning their first three matches, scoring 10 goals in the competition. They have looked in a league of their own in the La Liga. Real will be keen to collect yet another three points and climb to top of the La Liga standings.
Real Madrid have come up with some incredible performances against Espanyol in the recent past, including 6-0 wins in both the matches last season. Without Ronaldo and Bale out, they have players like Alvaro Morata, Karim Benzema and Lucas Vazquez, who can turn on the heat.
Real Madrid come into this fixture with a dramatic win against Sporting Lisbon, where they needed two late goals to seal three points. Zidane will not want his team to leave it so late, and rather put the three points in their bag as early as possible.
The manager does not want his players to take Espanyol lightly, as he spoke about the level of difficulty against their opponent.
"I have a great squad and we are going to need all of the players. We are going to be playing against strong opposition. We know that, we know it will be complicated, difficult, at a great stadium. We have had a great week. we know that there are a lot of games, we have rested up an we're ready for tomorrow," Zidane said.
Espanyol have a tough job in their hand. They have been poor in defence, conceding nine goals in three matches so far.
There might have been some changes in the team, starting right the ownership, and the club also signed two experienced players MartÃn Demichelis and goalkeeper Diego Lopez. Despite all these, they have not been able to shine in the first few matches of the La Liga. They are searching for their first win.
Espanyol may not have those big names, but if they come out with a positive mindset, and give it their all, playing some solid football, any result is possible in this beautiful game.
Where to watch live
Espanyol vs Real Madrid is scheduled for a 8:45 pm local time (12:15 am. IST, 7:45pm, BST, 2:45 pm ET) start. Live TV and streaming information is below.
India TV: Sony Six and Sony Six HD. Live Streaming: Sonyliv.
Spain: TV: Movistar
UK: TV: Sky Sports 1/HD, 3/HD. Live Streaming: Sky Go.
USA, Australia, Canada, France, Malaysia, Middle East, Singapore and Thailand: TV: Bein Sports. Live Streaming: Bein Sports Connect.