Real Madrid forward Cristiano Ronaldo has been ruled out of Tuesday’s Champions League semi-final, first leg against Manchester City through injury.
Madrid rested Ronaldo for Saturday’s 3-2 Liga win over Rayo Vallecano in the hope he would have time to recover from a thigh complaint.
Speaking at his pre-match news conference, Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane expressed confidence Ronaldo and Karim Benzema would be fit to start at the Etihad Stadium.
But, while striker Benzema lines up in the visitors’ starting XI after overcoming the effects of a blow to the knee suffered in the Rayo game, Ronaldo is absent from the matchday squad.
— Real Madrid C.F. (@realmadriden) April 26, 2016
The three-time Ballon d’Or winner has been Madrid’s star performer in their run to the semi-finals with 16 goals in 10 matches, including a hat-trick last time out to overturn a 2-0 deficit against Wolfsburg.
Lucas Vazquez, who came on for Benzema and scored at the weekend, starts instead of Ronaldo in a three-man forward line completed by Gareth Bale – the Wales international playing in England for the first time since leaving Tottenham in 2013.
They will take on a City defence with Nicolas Otamendi partnering captain Vincent Kompany at centre-back ahead of Eliaquim Mangala.