Ronaldo sulks but Zidane puts foot down

MADRID • Zinedine Zidane insisted Cristiano Ronaldo has to learn to live with being substituted after the forward sulked as he left the field during Real Madrid's 2-2 draw at Las Palmas on Saturday.

The coach replaced the three-time World Player of the Year in the 72nd minute with Real leading 2-1, but an unhappy Ronaldo watched from the bench as Sergio Araujo equalised to ensure Real dropped points in La Liga for the second time in four days.

"I have to take him off sometimes and tonight we did it," said Zidane. "That isn't going to change what we will continue to do."

At the forefront of the Frenchman's mind was Real's Champions League clash away to Borussia Dortmund tomorrow.

However, Ronaldo endured a poor night in front of goal as he fluffed a great chance from Alvaro Morata's cut-back before half-time and fired straight at Javi Varas in the build-up to Real's second goal.

"We have a game on Tuesday and I thought it was the time to take him off," said Zidane. "I know he always wants to play, but I also have to think about the players and for me, it was best to rest him and think about Tuesday."

Ronaldo has completed 90 minutes just twice this season, as he was also replaced early on his return from a knee ligament injury against Osasuna earlier this month and missed the win at Espanyol due to illness.

Real's lead over Barcelona in the table now stands at a solitary point after they failed to bounce back from a 1-1 draw with Villarreal on Wednesday that snapped a 16-game winning streak in La Liga.

Earlier on Saturday, Barca, playing without the injured Lionel Messi for the first time this season, beat 10-man Sporting Gijon 5-0.

Of more concern for Zidane is Real's leaky defence as they have now kept just one clean sheet in their last six games.

"Sometimes there are games like this where you have the chances to win and you don't take them," he said. "There was a lack of concentration for the second goal. I have to analyse it, but I am not going to complain. Playing like this for 90 minutes, we will be at the top of the league, I have no doubt."

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 26, 2016, with the headline 'Ronaldo sulks but Zidane puts foot down'. Print Edition | Subscribe