For very different reasons, both Barcelona and Real Madrid are reportedly planning to rest Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo this weekend.
It’s a crucial time of the season as we’ve reached the business end of the campaign with major honours on offer for all concerned.
For Barca, they have an 11-point lead over nearest La Liga title rivals Atletico Madrid and so can perhaps afford to rest key players in the league to prioritise the Champions League and Copa del Rey final.
In contrast, Madrid are 15 points off the pace and have no real hope of defending their domestic crown, and with the Champions League their only hope of silverware this season, it would come as no surprise if Zinedine Zidane were to work around their upcoming schedule against Juventus.
The Catalan giants also face Italian opposition in Roma, and according to La Gazzetta dello Sport, both Messi and Ronaldo will be rested against Sevilla and Las Palmas respectively in order to be fresh and fully rested for their European commitments next week.
Further, with Messi missing the international friendlies against Italy and Spain over the break due to a hamstring issue, it makes sense not to risk him this weekend unless completely necessary as the last thing that Barcelona want is to see him suffer an even more damaging setback.
Zidane has seemingly taken it a step further though as Ronaldo, Toni Kroos, Marcelo, Isco and Dani Carvajal have all been left out of the squad for Los Blancos, but as with Messi and Barcelona, it’s imperative that he looks after the condition of Ronaldo as he’ll be heavily relying on him to fire Madrid to more glory in Europe.
That’s bad news for Juve and Roma provided that the rest works in their favour, while it’s great news for the neutrals as if Messi and Ronaldo’s minutes are managed moving forward, it could leave them feeling a little fresher at the World Cup this summer too.