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Julen Lopetegui: Real Madrid’s Sergio Ramos requires rest

Julen Lopetegui: Real Madrid's Sergio Ramos requires rest
Sergio Ramos has hit back at Diego Maradona. (AFP : Getty Images)
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Julen Lopetegui has insisted he left Sergio Ramos out of Real Madrid’s latest squad because he needs a rest.

Captain and key -back Ramos sustained a cut in the scoreless draw with cross-city rivals Atletico Madrid at the weekend and was subsequently left out of the 20-man travelling party picked to visit CSKA Moscow.

But while Gareth Bale, Isco and Marcelo are all unavailable through injury, Ramos’ omission is purely with a view to preserving his fitness for the season ahead.

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The 32-year-old’s exclusion presents another hurdle for the holders as they seek to move on from a two-game winless run in La Liga.

“Ramos hasn’t travelled because he has played about 120 minutes more than his team-mates,” Lopetegui said.

“We’re looking at this as a marathon, the whole season, the bigger picture. Another player can come in and play his position.

“That’s my job – to sit in this seat and make these kinds of decisions.”

Madrid have only taken four league points from a possible nine since starting their title defence with a comprehensive win over Roma last month.

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The stalemate against Atleti was their second blank in as many outings, but Lopetegui believes the result offered no cause for concern.

“It was a very tough demanding game against a tough opponent,” he added.

“We had one less day to prepare for the game. I think overall there were plenty of positives. Of course there were a couple of setbacks but we showed we had players who can come in and play well.

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“Unfortunately we couldn’t get that goal. We just need to keep generating the most chances possible and hopefully put them away. I’m sure the ball will go in.”

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