Real Madrid will be without in-form talisman Cristiano Ronaldo as they look to continue their recent winning streak against Espanyol on Tuesday night.
Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane spoke on Monday about the need for Ronaldo to rest from “time to time” and the Portugal international was absent from a 19-man travelling squad announced on Tuesday morning.
Ronaldo, who also sat out last Wednesday’s 3-1 win at Leganes, has scored 12 goals in his last seven appearances to help Madrid get their season back on track following a poor run.
The reigning Spanish and European champions won just four of 10 matches either side of Christmas, but since then have put together a seven-game unbeaten run that has included six victories.
Madrid are still 14 points adrift of leaders Barca in LaLiga, but boast a 3-1 first-leg lead over Paris St Germain in their Champions League last-16 tie.
Zidane said at his pre-match press conference on Monday: “Cristiano knows himself very well and we always talk to him.
“It’s very important to always have Cristiano at the top level. He knows that from time to time he has to rest and that’s it. The season is very long and he’s also a player who will play in the World Cup at the end of the season.”
Madrid midfielder Casemiro, meanwhile, has been ruled out of the trip to Espanyol with stomach problems.