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January 12, 2017

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Real to rest Ronaldo for Copa clash against Sevilla

REAL Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane will not use Cristiano Ronaldo in the second leg of the Copa del Rey against Sevilla today.

Zidane will also rest Luka Modric when Real tries to defend a 3-0 win from the first leg. Real can advance to the quarterfinals even with a two-goal loss at the Ramon Sanchez-Pizjuan.

Ronaldo also didn’t play against Sevilla at the Santiago Bernabeu. His first match of the year was on Saturday against Granada in the league, when he scored once in Real’s 5-0 win.

Ronaldo was in Zurich on Monday to receive his fourth FIFA award for best player in the world.

Zidane said James Rodriguez, who scored twice in the first leg, will not travel because of a calf problem, but defender Sergio Ramos will be back after a long injury layoff.

Real plays again in Seville on Sunday in the Spanish league, a tournament it leads ahead of Sevilla.

Real is trying to win the Copa del Rey title for the first time since the 2013-14 season.

On Tuesday, Antoine Griezmann scored a goal the day after being named the world’s third-best player, helping Atletico Madrid reach the quarterfinals of the Copa del Rey despite a 2-3 home loss to Las Palmas.

The France forward missed training to attend FIFA’s awards ceremony in Zurich but he got back to Spain in time to help Atletico defend a 2-0 first-leg win and advance 4-3 on aggregate at the Vicente Calderon Stadium.

Griezmann, who got a loud ovation from the crowd when he was substituted in the 64th minute, has scored in all three matches Atletico has played this year. He hadn’t found the net in five straight games before the league’s winter break.

He was runner-up to Lionel Messi and Ronaldo at FIFA’s event in Switzerland on Monday.

Atletico is trying to win the Copa for the first time since 2012-13, when it beat Real in the final at the Santiago Bernabeu.

Four second-leg matches were being played yesterday, with two-time defending champion Barcelona hosting Athletic Bilbao and needing to overcome a 1-2 loss in Bilbao.


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