Cristiano Ronaldo ruled out of Espanyol trip due to illness
Last Updated: 17/09/16 4:09pm
Cristiano Ronaldo will be unable to continue his remarkable goalscoring form against Espanyol after illness ruled the Real Madrid forward out of Sunday's trip.
The Portugal international missed training due to a sore throat and, along with injured Wales attacker Gareth Bale, was not named in Zinedine Zidane's 19-man squad.
Espanyol will therefore be breathing a sigh of relief following Ronaldo's astonishing record of netting 11 goals in his past three games against Sunday's opponents.
Ronaldo has also scored twice in as many games since returning from the injury which cut short his Euro 2016 final, helping Real beat Osasuna 5-2 to move top of LaLiga and then providing the springboard to see off Sporting Lisbon late on in the Champions League.
But, with a heavy schedule on the horizon, Zidane is unwilling to risk Ronaldo and Bale, the latter who is struggling with a hip injury sustained against Sporting on Wednesday night.
"Cristiano will not be travelling with us as he has a sore throat. He will be staying in Madrid," coach Zidane told the club's official website.
"He is simply not ready, we won't be taking risks with anyone and least of all with him.
"Gareth took a big knock to the hip so we won't be risking him. The players all want to play, but we're playing every three days, we have a lot of games, and we can't risk such an important player."
The duo's absence will give others an opportunity as Real go searching for a record 16th consecutive LaLiga victory which would maintain their 100 per cent start to the campaign.
"The game against Espanyol will be difficult but we are prepared," Zidane added.
"I have a great squad and we are going to need all of the players. We are going to be playing against strong opposition. We know that, we know it will be complicated, difficult, at a great stadium.
"We have had a great week. We know that there are a lot of games, we have rested up an we're ready for tomorrow."
Despite the lack of Ronaldo and Bale in Espanyol, Madrid still have a plethora of attacking talent in their ranks with the likes of Karim Benzema, Alvaro Morata and James Rodriguez.
And Espanyol defender Oscar Duarte knows his side will need to improve if they are to claim their first win of the season, having secured only two points from three matches.
Duarte told the club's official website: "We must do our work; we must go for the match as we have done all the season and try to improve.
"We must think in what they can do as a team. They are very good individually, but we have to think in global and see how we can face them. Real Madrid is a great team."