Ronaldo to sit out Cornella clash
29 October 2014, 21:07
Madrid - Holders Real Madrid will rest top scorer Cristiano Ronaldo and several other first-choice players for their King's Cup last-32, first leg against third-tier Cornella later on Wednesday, coach Carlo Ancelotti said.
Ronaldo, who has netted 16 goals in eight La Liga appearances and three in three Champions League games this season, will make way along with captain and goalkeeper Iker Casillas, centre backs Sergio Ramos and Pepe and midfielders Toni Kroos and Luka Modric, Ancelotti told a news conference.
Keylor Navas will replace Casillas in goal and Javier Hernandez, on loan at Real from Manchester United, will start up front with Karim Benzema, he added.
Real beat Barcelona 2-1 to win the Cup in 2013-14 and come into the game against tiny Barcelona-based Cornella following Saturday's 3-1 success at home to their arch rivals in La Liga.
Wednesday's match pits the world's richest club by income, with annual revenues of more than 600 million euros ($764 million), against a club with a budget per season of around 1 million euros.
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The game is being played at Espanyol's stadium because Cornella's tiny arena next door holds a mere 1,500 spectators.
"We have good memories of this competition and we are keen to do the same this season," Ancelotti said.
"It's a match against a third-tier team but we need to play a serious game and continue our good run of results," added the Italian, who led Real to a record-extending 10th European title in 2013-14 in his first season in charge.
Real have won their last nine matches in all competitions, scoring 38 goals and conceding six.
If they get past Cornella as expected, they are likely to play city rivals Atletico Madrid in the last 16, with Barca the probable opponents in the quarter-finals.
All but two of the Cup last-32, first legs take place at the beginning of December but Real's has been brought forward because of the European champions' participation in the Club World Cup in mid-December.Due to the disruption to the La Liga calendar caused by the tournament in Morocco, Sevilla have also had their first leg brought forward and play at second-division Sabadell later on Wednesday. The return legs are at the beginning of December.