Bale absence, suspensions force Real reshuffle for Eibar game – Reuters

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MADRID (Reuters) – Real Madrid winger Gareth Bale will be rested for Saturday’s La Liga game at home to Eibar, coach Carlo Ancelotti said on Friday, meaning the Welshman joins suspended midfielders Toni Kroos and James Rodriguez on the sidelines.
Ancelotti said he had not made a final decision on who would come into his starting lineup for the game at the Bernabeu, when second-placed Real will look to close the gap on leaders Barcelona, who play at Sevilla later on Saturday, to one point.
Asier Illarramendi and Isco will probably play alongside Luka Modric in midfield, with Jese joining Cristiano Ronaldo and Karim Benzema up front.
“All I can say is that Illarra and Jese have a very good chance of playing,” Ancelotti told a news conference.
Real at least have Ronaldo available after the Spanish soccer federation (RFEF) rescinded a yellow card the Portugal forward was shown in Wednesday’s 2-0 win at Rayo Vallecano which would have carried a one-match suspension.
Ronaldo is the La Liga’s top scorer this season with 37 goals, four ahead of Barcelona’s Argentina forward Lionel Messi.
Ancelotti said Ronaldo’s Portugal team mate Pepe, a centre back, would be available both for Saturday and Tuesday’s Champions League quarter-final, first leg at Atletico Madrid after a short injury layoff.
Germany midfielder Sami Khedira and Portugal left back Fabio Coentrao have back and knee problems respectively and will not be in the squad for the Eibar game.
The modest Basque club are playing in Spain’s top flight for the first time this season but a recent poor run has left them in 14th with eight games left, in danger of dropping straight back down to the second division.
“Our thought is only to play a good match and compete, which is a word we use a lot in our dressing-room,” Eibar coach Gaizka Garitano told Marca sports daily in an interview published on Friday.
“We are not coming with any fear,” added the 39-year-old, who will be keen to avoid a repeat of the 9-1 thrashing Real dealt Granada at the Bernabeu last weekend.
“We defend well,” he said. “We have lost quite a few games recently but nobody has scored more than two goals against us in those defeats.”
Writing by Iain Rogers, editing by Ed Osmond
Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.
All quotes delayed a minimum of 15 minutes. See here for a complete list of exchanges and delays.


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