The Portuguese star has missed Real’s last three games due to the problem and Ancelotti said he didn’t want to risk him with their UEFA Champions League semi-final, first leg against Bayern Munich just a week away. “Cristiano is not available because we don’t want to take risks and we have other very important games to come this season,” he said at his pre-match press conference on Tuesday.
However, the build up to the game for both sides has been disrupted by injuries to key players. FIFA World Player of the Year Cristiano Ronaldo is a major doubt for Real due to a hamstring injury suffered in his side’s 3-0 win over Borussia Dortmund two weeks ago. The Portuguese hasn’t played in three games since and is unlikely to be risked with Real’s UEFA Champions League semi-final first leg against Bayern Munich just seven days away.
Aritz Aduriz scored at the start of each half as Ernesto Valverde’s side made light work of the visitors, and Ander Herrera hit the third goal with half an hour remaining, with the help of an error by Malaga goalkeeper Willy Caballero. The win sees Athletic maintain their six-point gap over Sevilla, who are their nearest challengers for fourth spot in the Primera Division. Malaga suffered their 15th defeat of the season, but have little concern of falling into the relegation zone, still a comfortable seven points above the bottom three.
Andoni Zubizarreta has acknowledged Barcelona’s recent results have left him experiencing his “worst moment as sporting director”, but backed coach Gerardo Martino to see out his contract. Saturday’s shock 1-0 Spanish La Liga defeat at Granada meant the reigning champions finished the weekend third in the standings – four points behind leaders Atletico Madrid – with five games remaining.
The loss in Andalusia came hot on the heels of the midweek Champions League exit at the hands of Los Rojiblancos, and Zubizarreta admitted it was a tough time.
The club’s medical update reads:
“Medical tests performed on Cristiano Ronaldo have revealed an injury to the player’s left biceps femoris muscle. Pending a medical evaluation.”
According to AS Sport, Ronaldo has suffered a small tear to his left hamstring and could be out for up to 15 days.
Initially, it was thought that Cristiano was suffering a patellar tendonitis (Jumper’s knee) but the results of Thursday’s medical exam suggests that the problem could be more serious.
Atletico’s fairytale season continued on Wednesday night when they reached the semi-finals of the European Cup for the first time in 40 years after Koke’s early strike earned them a 1-0 second-leg win over Barca and a 2-1 aggregate triumph. That win keeps Atletico on course for a memorable trophy double this season as they also lead La Liga heading into the final six games.
Barcelona coach Gerardo Martino conceded his side had paid for a slow start as Atletico Madrid booked their place in the UEFA Champions League semi-finals for the first time in 40 years with a 1-0 win over the Catalans on Wednesday.
Koke scored the only goal of the game after just five minutes to seal a 2-1 aggregate victory for Diego Simeone’s men and Atletico could have won by a far more comfortable margin as they also hit the woodwork three times in the opening 20 minutes.
Atletico Madrid reached the semi-finals of Europe’s premier tournament for the first time in four decades following a 1-0 win over Barcelona. Koke’s fifth-minute strike was enough to send Atletico through to the last four, although Diego Simeone’s men could have killed the tie off in a breathless first 20 minutes.
Atletico, without injured star striker Diego Costa, hit the woodwork three times during their early burst and wasted several other chances late on. Atletico’s start was so compelling that the only shock was they were just 1-0 up after the first 20 minutes.
Arsenal midfielder Santi Cazorla says that the Gunners are interested in signing Iker Casillas from Real Madrid, while he has spoken to the goalkeeper about a potential switch to the Emirates Stadium.
Casillas lost his regular starting spot in La Liga for Real Madrid under Jose Mourinho last season and it is a situation that has continued into the current campaign, despite the Portuguese being replaced on the bench by Carlo Ancelotti.
Casillas’s situation has alerted a number of clubs to his fringe status, including Arsenal, Cazorla claims.
Captain Iker Casillas said Real Madrid were given a UEFA Champions League wake-up call as they lost 2-0 to last season’s beaten finalists Borussia Dortmund in their quarter-final second leg match but still went through to the last four 3-2 on aggregate on Tuesday.
Germany winger Marco Reus scored both Borussia’s goals to spark hopes of the hosts reaching the semi-finals. However, Real held on but patently missed their star performer Cristiano Ronaldo, who was on the bench because he had not recovered fully from the knock to the knee he took in the first leg.