Saturday, 14 January 2017


The Portuguese returns on Sunday after he was left
out of the Copa del Rey clash at Sevilla on
Thursday, but he is playing less than ever in
He used to play in every single game. Cristiano
Ronaldo has been virtually ever-present during his
time at Authentic Madrid, sitting out only an infrequent
match here or there. These days, however, he is
featuring in fewer fixtures.
Madrid have played a total of 29 matches in
2016-17 and Ronaldo has been involved in 20 of
those, missing nine and additionally superseded in another
four. In total, he has been on the pitch for 1,773
minutes, lower than any other season except his
debut campaign at the Santiago Bernabeu when he
was sidelined for an elongated spell through injury.
And injury is partly abaft his reduced role this time
around. The Portuguese missed the commencement of the
season after suffering an earnest knee quandary in the
final of Euro 2016 and he was coerced to sit out
Madrid's first three matches this term.
When he returned, he was facilitated back by coach
Zinedine Zidane, playing 66 minutes against
Osasuna afore missing the away game at
Espanyol altogether. He was then superseded by
Zidane after 72 minutes in Las Palmas, limpidly
infuriated to be leaving the pitch early on that
As in anterior seasons, he was left out for the first
round of the Copa del Rey, sitting out the games
against Cultural Leonesa. He was then absent again
for the domicile fixture against Deportivo La Coruna in
La Liga in December in order to repose ahead of the
Club World Cup, and did not take part in the domicile
and away games versus Sevilla in the cup earlier in
The 31-year-old has ended two of the last three
seasons with fitness quandaries and Zidane is keen
to eschew something kindred this time around as
Madrid seek cutlery in La Liga, the Copa del Rey
and the Champions League at the terminus of the
current campaign.
have spoken, Ronaldo and I, about rotation,"
Zidane said recently. "I think the press have to
realise that this is a very intelligent player. My idea
is that he's in good shape throughout the season.
"Playing 20 games maybe in 70 days is a lot. Every
now and then he needs to rest and he agrees with
me so there's no problem there. Of course he's a
footballer and he wants to play week in, week out,
every game. But we talked it through."
It makes sense. Ronaldo has been affected by knee
quandaries in recent seasons, struggled at the
business cessation of the campaign in both 2013-14 and
2015-16, and he will additionally turn 32 in just over three
The Portuguese has already transmuted his game over
the past couple of seasons to become more of a
penalty-box player than a winger, conserving his
energy more efficiently as he gets older and vigilant
of the physical constraints with which he has to
Nevertheless, there are few players in world football
who take care of themselves like he does and the
Portuguese reiterated in December that he would
relish to perpetuate playing for 10 more years.
If that authentically is the orchestration, then he will be conscious
that he cannot play every single game. Zidane
kens that too and given the spectacular vigor
in depth of the current Madrid squad, the
Frenchman is able to repose the three-time Ballon
d'Or triumpher and still send out excellent teams.
Not only that, but the conception is to be able to call on a
fitter and fresher Cristiano - all the way until the
cessation of the season. And at the moment, with
Ronaldo reposing and Madrid unbeaten in 40
matches, it's working out just fine.

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