No rest for Madrid's 'wicked'

May 17, 2017
Real Madrid's head coach Zinedine Zidane, right, gives instructions from the side line during a La Liga soccer match between Real Madrid and Sevilla at the Santiago Bernabeu stadium in Madrid, on Sunday.

MADRID (AP):

There is no more rest for Cristiano Ronaldo and his teammates. Zinedine Zidane is done rotating his squad and will use Ronaldo and the rest of the regular starters when Madrid plays at Celta Vigo with a chance to regain the Spanish league lead and move into position to clinch their first title in five years.

A win or a draw in the match postponed from February because of bad weather will move Madrid past Barcelona into first place going into the weekend's final round of matches. Both teams have 87 points, but the Catalan club leads on the head-to-head tie-breaker. Madrid play at mid-table Malaga on Sunday, while Barcelona finish their season against eighth-place Eibar on the same day.

"We are prepared," Zidane said yesterday. "We have two matches to play, two finals, and then it's all over in the league. Everybody is doing very well physically and wishing that the game starts as soon as possible. We are thinking positively and we will give everything we have."

 

Decisive stages

 

Zidane had been rotating the squad the last few months as Madrid also played the decisive stages of the Champions League. Their latest game in the European competition was against Atletico Madrid in the semifinals last week, when it advanced to the final on June 3.

Zidane kept regular starters such as Karim Benzema, Casemiro and Luka Modric out of the starting line-up against Sevilla on Sunday, when Madrid won 4-1. Ronaldo was in that match, scoring two goals, and he is also going to play today in Vigo. The star forward hadn't played in an away match for Madrid since March, against Athletic Bilbao. He was rested in the team's following four away matches in the league.

"Cristiano will be with us," Zidane said.

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