Cristiano Ronaldo: Jose Mourinho Made Right Decision to Rest Star in El Clasico

Alex Ballentine@Ballentine_AlexFeatured ColumnistMarch 2, 2013

BARCELONA, SPAIN - FEBRUARY 26:  Cristiano Ronaldo (L) of Real Madrid celebrates scoring his sides opening goal with his teammate Sergio Ramos during the Copa del Rey semi final second leg match between FC Barcelona and Real Madrid CF at the Camp Nou on February 26, 2013 in Barcelona, Spain.  (Photo by Jasper Juinen/Getty Images)
Jasper Juinen/Getty Images

It may have been a big disappointment for those who love to argue about Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo, but Jose Mourinho made the right decision by limiting his star forward's minutes in Real Madrid's match with rival Barcelona.

The rivalry that exists between Real Madrid and Barcelona isn't just about geography and La Liga dominance. In recent years, it's been just as much about the individual matchup of Messi and Ronaldo. Fans of both players and teams love to debate who the best player in the world is until they are blue in the face. 

While it's an intriguing to debate for sure, a manager has to do what is best for good of the team. In this instance, it wasn't treating fans to a full-blown Messi versus Ronaldo matchup. 

This was an important matchup for fans, but not the club. It's no secret that Barca fans and Real Madrid fans don't exactly see eye-to-eye. However, it's impossible that Madrid will be catching the insurmountable lead that Madrid has built in La Liga this season. 

What is possible, is that Madrid can keep it's UEFA Champions League hopes alive by defeating Manchester United in the Round of 16 on March 5. 

By playing Ronaldo in a substitute role he was able to put him in at 55 minute mark. This allowed him to compete against his personal rival while maintaining his health and energy for the much more important match on the horizon against United. 

The two clubs met in a thriller during the first leg of the tournament and the sides came away with a 1-1 draw. That one goal for Madrid was, of course, scored by Ronaldo. 

Fans who love to see the world's two best players go head-to-head may be disappointed. But fans of Madrid should rejoice, their side now stands a much better chance of scoring the huge win over United with a well-rested Ronaldo leading the attack.