No more rotating players as Real eyes Spanish title

2017-05-17 07:18:22 GMT2017-05-17 15:18:22(Beijing Time) Agencies

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 Real plays at Celta Vigo with a chance to regain the Spanish league lead and move into position to clinch its first title in five years.

A win or a draw in the match postponed from February because of bad weather will move Real 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 tiebreaker. Real plays at mid-table Malaga on Sunday, while Barcelona finishes its 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.”

Zidane had been rotating the squad the last few months as Real also played the decisive stages of the UEFA Champions League. Its 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 lineup against Sevilla on Sunday, when Real won 4-1. Ronaldo was in that match, scoring two goals, and he will also 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.

The game against Celta was originally scheduled to be played on February 5 but was postponed because heavy winds damaged the roof of the Balaidos Stadium, making it unsafe for players and spectators.

Real hasn’t won the league since 2012 and is trying to avoid its longest title drought since 1981-85. Barcelona is trying to win the league title for the third straight time.

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