Cristiano Ronaldo won't play in the Madrid derby this weekend in advance of the second leg of Real Madrid's Champions League showdown with Borussia Dortmund. The club revealed their plans to sit Ronaldo with a minor thigh injury (via Fox Soccer):
Real Madrid C.F. @realmadriden
#Karanka: "@Cristiano won't play tomorrow because he is not fit." #halamadrid4/26/2013, 4:12:33 PM
With Atletico applying pressure on Real Madrid for the second spot on the La Liga table, Real Madrid's decision to sit their best player has to be taken seriously.
In sitting Ronaldo, Real Madrid is hoping that he not only will have recovered from his thigh injury, but also that he will be well-rested for Dortmund.
After an embarrassing performance in Germany, Real Madrid hosts the second leg with a 4-1 deficit to overcome. Holding Ronaldo out of an important league match indicates that Real Madrid is very serious about a comeback attempt in the return match.
It's not surprising that Real Madrid haven't given up hopes of advancing to the final, but the measures they are taking prior to the semifinal are interesting.
This sends a great message to Jose Mourinho's squad, as they prepare for two big games in the next week.
Not only does it instill confidence into the side, but it actually does give them the best chance to win this match. Trailing by three goals, Real Madrid certainly have their work cut out for them.
In order to get the three goals minimum that they need, Real Madrid need Ronaldo and the rest of the team at their best. A couple of strokes of early genius from the brilliant player could change the dynamic of this game in a heartbeat. In addition to overcoming the three-goal deficit, Real Madrid will have to turn the tide and show up as the better team.
If Ronaldo isn't 100-percent by match time, the chances drop even further for Real Madrid. With six matches left in La Liga play (including this weekend's showdown), Real Madrid still have plenty of time to make sure they finish ahead of their in-town rivals. With both teams set for Champions League qualifying, there isn't that much at stake.
Therefore, Real Madrid is making the smart choice and resting Ronaldo.