Soccer

Real Madrid will be without Ronaldo and Benzema, Bale this weekend as Champions League looms

Real Madrid will be without their entire prodigious attacking trident this weekend and Cristiano Ronaldo, Karim Benzema and Gareth Bale were all left out of the 18-man squad for the trip to Sporting Gijon.

Don't ring the alarm bells quite yet, though. Ronaldo and Benzema are fit and will miss the La Liga contest as a means of rest. Only Bale is an injury concern, one which Real Madrid boss Zinedine Zidane characterized as "just a setback," in a press conference.

With the usual trio missing the trip to 18th-place Sporting, the likes of Marco Asensio, Lucas Vasquez, Alvaro Morata and Mariano likely will be called upon.

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Clearly, Zizou has cast his gaze to the week ahead rather than the weekend's matchup. Not to count out Sporting, butthey've beaten Real Madrid just one time in the league since the 1996/97 season. However, in their last meeting atEl Molinn they did hold the Merengues to a goalless draw.

Nevertheless, Zidane is putting his eggs in the Champions League quarterfinals basket, when Bayern Munich will be looking to overturn a 2-1 deficit on Wednesday. With a three-point La Liga cushion and a game in hand on second-place Barcelona, Zidane can afford to be a bit risky with his team selections.

Finding rest during a busy April isn't the worst idea … as long as his Plan B players get the job done against Sporting.