Real Madrid captain Sergio Ramos has been ruled out of the Club World Cup semi-final against America on Thursday.
Head coach Zinedine Zidane has confirmed that the Spain international will not be risked for the meeting with the CONCACAF Champions League holders after complaining of a minor problem picked up following their long journey to Japan.
“Sergio Ramos won’t play,” Zidane told a news conference on Wednesday. “He felt some discomfort and the trip tired him a little, so we are not going to risk him.”
Ramos has been pivotal to his side’s unbeaten start to the season and has scored invaluable late goals in recent weeks to keep them six points clear at the top of LaLiga.
The centre-back headed in a late equaliser in the Clasico at Camp Nou before scoring the winner in last Saturday’s 3-2 victory over Deportivo La Coruna, in which Madrid opted to rest a number of first-team stars including Cristiano Ronaldo and Luka Modric.
However, Zidane expects the rest of his 23-man squad to be fully fit for Thursday’s game, including Ballon d’Or-winner Ronaldo.
“Aside from Ramos, we are all ready to play – Cristiano as well,” he said.
“I want to play the best team possible. We have a lot of different options but the idea is to field the best team.
“We know the importance of the competition and we want to try to win it. We’re a bit tired but we’re ready for the game.
“We’ve received an amazing reception from the fans. We’re often very far away and so we’re not able to share this with these supporters.
“We don’t need months to get to know an opponent. We’ve spoken about that, we’ll talk through the details but we have to have a great game.
“We’ll need to fight to reach the final.”
The European champions begin their quest to claim club football’s global title in Yokohama.