Madrid, Mar. 4: Real Madrid will be without stars Cristiano Ronaldo and Gareth Bale for its deceptively tough away match at Eibar in the Spanish league on Saturday.
Ronaldo was left out for unspecified reasons with manager Zinedine Zidane saying only that the Portugal star didn’t train on Friday because he “wasn’t feeling 100 percent” fit.
Bale will serve the first of a two-game suspension for the red card he earned for pushing an opponent during a 3-3 draw with Las Palmas on Wednesday that allowed defending champion Barcelona to move into first place.
Backup striker Alvaro Morata is also suspended for the trip, further depriving Madrid of firepower. The three forwards have scored 46 goals between them this campaign.
Eibar, despite its tiny budget, has proven to be one of the surprises of the season.
The small Basque Country club is seventh in the league and earned a 1-1 draw at Madrid in October. At home, Eibar has a record of eight wins, two draws and three losses.
“We know the difficulties we will face,” Zidane said. “It is a difficult place to play.”
Madrid, which still has a game in hand, has floundered in recent weeks, winning only one of the last three league matches _ 3-2 victory at Villarreal required a spectacular rally from 2-0 down.
“It’s not our best moment of the season,” Zidane said. “These periods happen. (We need to stay) calm and keep working.”
Eibar will be without its manager Jose Mendilibar, who is suspended for three matches.
The hosts will be able to count on rested top scorer Sergi Enrich, who didn’t play in midweek. The Spaniard has scored 10 league goals this season.
Mendilibar remains very wary of Madrid, even out of form and without three forwards.
“They are not playing well, they say so themselves, but that doesn’t mean anything for a team like Real Madrid,” he said. “With two or three flashes they can create scoring chances.”(TIE)