Real Madrid were hoping to have superstar Cristiano Ronaldo back in action against Elche. Instead, they'll be without him for one more game, as his appeal to return a game early from a three-match ban was denied.
From Alec Fenn of Goal.com:
Cristiano Ronaldo will play no part in Real Madrid's clash with Elche on Saturday after he lost his appeal to have the final game of a three-match suspension quashed.
The Portuguese was suspended for three games after he was sent off in the 1-1 draw with Athletic Bilbao on February 2 following an altercation with Carlos Gurpegui and Ander Iturraspe.
The 29-year-old has since served two games of that ban having missed the 4-2 win over Villarreal and last weekend's 3-0 victory away to Getafe.
According to Alex Duff of Bloomberg Sports, Ronaldo was given a one-match ban after the game against Athletic Bilbao for the red-card offense and an additional two matches for slapping his cheek at referee's assistant Miguel Angel Ayza Gamez, a gesture that implies contempt in Spain.
Ronaldo's camp said he was was left feeling "upset and sad" about the decision, but the Administrative Court of Sport was not been swayed by his appeal.
Obviously, Real Madrid have survived without their star man, and they should be just fine against Elche without him. Still, you can bet Ronaldo is champing at the bit to return.
Fresh off a Ballon d'Or award this year, Ronaldo has been brilliant for Real Madrid once again, scoring 22 goals and adding six assists in 21 La Liga games. He's added nine goals and two assists in five Champions League contests.
His 8.14 average match rating at WhoScored in La Liga trails only, you guessed it, Lionel Messi's 8.44 mark.
Ronaldo's return will, of course, be hugely important for Los Blancos in their title push, as they came into Saturday's action in a three-way tie atop La Liga with Barcelona and Atletico Madrid (Barcelona currently sits in first due to goal differential).
With Ronaldo firing on all cylinders once more, Los Blancos will be tough to beat down the stretch as they look to dethrone Barcelona as league champions.