Image: Cristinao Ronaldo in action against Las Palmas.
Real Madrid star Cristiano Ronaldo always make headlines when he scores and when he doesn’t, as was the case against Las Palmas on Sunday. He was substituted in the heated match which disappointingly ended 2-2.
Sergio Araujo’s late equalizer gave Madrid its second draw in a row since the start of this 2016/17 season.
Ronaldo attracted criticisms when he let his emotions overshadow the team spirit, after Karim Benzema scored. He withdrew from the celebrations and was subsequently substituted.
However, coach Zinedine Zidane has been careful not to condemn his players in public. The Madrid boss said “CR7 was subbed so he could rest,” adding that “his performance in the match was very good”.
Image: Zinedine Zidane
Answering questions at a press conference, Zizou said: “What I least liked? The two goals we conceded.
“The team’s performance from the first to last minute was very good game.
“On Wednesday, the first half was difficult, but today we’ve played good football, we created many chances.
“We lacked concentration, even though we had the game under control.
“I didn’t like the two goals [conceded], but we won’t give up.
“We’ll go on from this, but I’m happy with the team’s performance.
“We have a game on Tuesday and I thought it was time to get [Cristiano] off.
“He always wants to play, but I have to think about the player. I had to let him rest and think about Tuesday.”
Image: Zinedine Zidane
The Frenchman also talked about Barca’s games and the effect the club will face due to Lionel Messi’s injury which could see him sidelined for at least 3 weeks or more.
Zizou had expected La Blaugranas to lose or draw against Sporting Gijon without Messi, hoping Madrid would have a chance to stay far ahead on the La Liga table, after the 1-1 draw againt Villarreal.
Unfortunately, the 44-year-old thought wrongly. Madrid ended the match in a draw, leaving Barca with just one point behind.
The former Madrid player and World Cup winner said earlier at a press conference: “Whether we’re attacking or defending, we have important players. We prepare for the match and set pieces. We know it’s an important weapon in every game.
“In a match, you always have to change things. We had 10 minutes to talk [at half-time against Villarreal] and say things, and I think we changed.
“I won’t say that our attitude in the first half wasn’t good, but we lacked intensity against a good rival.
“If you don’t put in intensity from the start, you encounter difficulties. The second part was different because we went into another gear.
“Are Barca worse without Messi? Yes. Well, worse is a word that I don’t like, but we all know that Messi is Messi.
“We know what he brings to Barcelona and it’s clear that without him, Barca will look different.”