NEWS
Saturday February 18 2017
Ramos out of Espanyol game

Real Madrid captain Sergio Ramos will miss his side’s clash with Espanyol on Saturday, boss Zinedine Zidane has confirmed.

The defender picked up a slight knock in Wednesday’s Champions League victory over Napoli to rule him out of the encounter, while Gareth Bale has been confirmed as being in the squad.

“Sergio Ramos? It is just a bang, not an injury. On Monday he will be with us, with no problems,” explained Zidane at his pre-match press conference.

“Gareth Bale will be on the bench tomorrow, the idea is that we will bring him on to get a few minutes and ease him back into fitness.

“Alvaro Morata? He has had few minutes, but he has had minutes. Less than Karim (Benzema), for sure, but tomorrow he will start the game. And others too.

“Does Morata want to leave? I hope not, we love him here and he feels at home.”

Luka Modric and Keylor Navas have also been rested for the visit of Espanyol, as has Karim Benzema.

“Benzema? I saw the same Karim as ever [against Napoli], the unique thing being that he scored,” added the Coach.

“He defended and moved more on Wednesday, but I saw him the same, very involved, very responsible, with a lot of character.

“He scored the other day, other times he hasn’t. No 9s need to score, but he knows how to score and do other things.

“Espanyol are a team that come here on the back of very good results and we’re aware of the game’s difficulty. It’s going to be every three days or at the weekend.”

The Catalans have Pape Diop and talisman Pablo Piatti back, but defenders Marc Navarro and Javi Lopez do not travel due to training-ground injuries, while midfielder Oscar Melendo is dropped on technical grounds.

Real Madrid squad: Casilla, Yanez, Luca Zidane; Carvajal, Pepe, Varane, Nacho, Marcelo; Kroos, Kovacic, Casemiro, Asensio, Isco, James; Ronaldo, Bale, Lucas Vazquez, Morata, Mariano

Espanyol squad: Roberto, Ruben Duarte, Víctor Alvarez, Oscar Duarte, Gerard, Salva Sevilla, Reyes, Caicedo, Aaron, Diego Lopez, Jurado, David Lopez, Perez, Fuego, Piatti, Diop, Alvaro Vazquez, Diego Reyes, Roca

Referee: Undiano Mallenco

Kick-off time: 15:15 GMT/16:15 CET

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