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HindustanTimes Fri,19 Sep 2014

Football

No risking Ronaldo: Real play it safe
AFP
Madrid, November 30, 2013
First Published: 00:20 IST(30/11/2013)
Last Updated: 01:29 IST(30/11/2013)

Cristiano Ronaldo will play no part in Real Madrid’s home clash with Valladolid on Saturday as coach Carlo Ancelotti opts to take no risks with the Portuguese star’s fitness.

Ronaldo missed Wednesday’s 4-1 Champions League win against Galatasaray at the Santiago Bernabeu with a hamstring problem and, while he has now returned to training, Ancelotti believes now is the ideal time to give him a rest.

“He has had a scan and the muscle has completely recovered but he is not so comfortable. He has not trained much so we don’t want to take any risk because he has two weeks to work and prepare for the next league game,” Ancelotti told press ahead of Saturday’s meeting with a Valladolid side who are hovering just above the relegation zone in La Liga.

Ronaldo, considered the favourite to win this year’s Ballon d’Or, is suspended for the Copa del Rey tie against third-tier side Olimpic de Xativa next weekend and is unlikely to feature against FC Copenhagen in Madrid’s final Champions League Group B game on December 10 with the Spaniards already having won the section.

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He is therefore not set to return until the trip to Osasuna scheduled for December 14.

Angel Di Maria is again set to start on the left of the Madrid attack on Saturday as Ancelotti’s side look to provisionally close the gap on leaders Barcelona to three points before the Catalans visit Athletic Bilbao on Sunday.

Bale cements place

Meanwhile, Ancelotti believes that Gareth Bale has now integrated fully into the Madrid side.

The Welshman has scored five goals in six games since struggling in the 2-1 defeat to Barcelona at the end of October, that run including a magnificent free-kick against Galatasaray on Wednesday.

“I think the integration of Bale is complete. He is playing well at the moment, without problems,” said Ancelotti.

“He is scoring goals and linking well with the forwards. I see no problem with him. I think he can get even better.

“I think all the players realise that he has talent and helps the team.”


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