BARCELONA (Reuters) - Real Madrid have rested Cristiano Ronaldo and Luka Modric for Thursday’s King’s Cup last 16, second leg at Sevilla but captain Sergio Ramos is back after injury, the club said on Wednesday.
With Real winning last week’s first leg 3-0, coach Zinedine Zidane’s priority looks to have turned to Sunday’s La Liga game back at Sevilla, which could have a huge impact on their bid to claim their first title in five years.
The Andalusian club are second in the standings, trailing Real by four points although they have played a game more.
Real midfielders Lucas Vazquez and Mateo Kovacic have also returned to the squad alongside Ramos although James Rodriguez, scorer of two of the three goals in the first leg, has been left out after sustaining a slight calf injury.
Zidane unveiled his squad list after giving his pre-game news conference, where he said Real would not relax in the second leg despite their heavy advantage.
“We know it’s another game and it’s going to be hard because Sevilla are going to do everything they can to win the game and we’re expecting it to be difficult. We’re prepared for that and it (the first leg result) won’t change anything,” he said.
“What Sevilla are doing at the moment is phenomenal. They are a really strong team with quality players. Both games are vital to us, it’s a big week for us.”
Sevilla coach Jorge Sampaoli said his side would attempt to turn the tie around on Wednesday but added that his priority was Sunday’s league match.
“We’re going to try and put in a performance that would allow us to dream of the possibility of a comeback but the reality is that’s going to be very complicated,” said the Argentine coach.
”For us Sunday’s game is like a final. We want to cut the gap with them and that game is where we will be able to say: ‘Here we are and we’re going to fight for this league title’.
“Winning would take us to within a point of a leader everyone thought was unreachable.”
Reporting by Richard Martin; editing by Ken Ferris