What would’ve otherwise been a non-story had Real Madrid managed to hold on to their 2-1 lead over Las Palmas on Saturday, Cristiano Ronaldo's 72nd minute substitution has since blown up following Sergio Araujo’s 85th minute equalizer.
Las Palmas held Real Madrid to a 2-2 draw, diminishing Los Blancos' lead at the top of the La Liga table to a single point. The main talking point from the match has now switched to Real Madrid manager Zinedine Zidane's decision and Ronaldo's reaction.
With Ronaldo seemingly still yet to reach peak match fitness following his lengthy injury layoff and hurried preseason, Zidane sacrificed the forward for Lucas Vazquez with the game still firmly in the balance.
Ronaldo was not happy with the move.
Ronaldo not really happy with his sub. pic.twitter.com/6vcbqMbSHH— Richie (@Richie_2013) September 24, 2016
According to Spanish TV station Cuatro, Ronaldo is alleged to have made the following remarks after walking past Zidane without making eye contact: “Why me? I do everything to make it 2-1…for f***’s sake!”
While on the bench, Cuatro’s lip readers believe he went on to yell “F***” in Portuguese and “Mother f*****” in Spanish.
Zidane said he made the substitution with Tuesday’s Champions League match against Borussia Dortmund in mind.
“Everything is normal,” said Zidane. “We’re already thinking about tomorrow’s game. I took the decision for the good of the player. Nothing has changed.
“All this talk [about the substitution], more than about tomorrow’s game, well we must live with that. We are relaxed. I’m not stupid, and he is intelligent. We are all here for the same thing.”
For Zidane’s part, most Real supporters seem to believe that substituting Ronaldo was the right decision. According to AS.com, the website for one of the biggest daily sports newspapers in Madrid, 83.89 percent of users surveyed online agreed with the move.
Real meet Dortmund tomorrow with both teams having won their opening UCL games. Dormund sit atop the group with a better goal difference.
Should Ronaldo and Real triumph tomorrow, expect this story to blow over completely.
Should Real falter, Ronaldo will almost certainly be questioned following a La Liga start that’s only yielded a single goal in three matches. By anyone else’s standards, that’d be a fine start. For the man who’s notched over 30 La Liga goals each season dating back to 2010-11, it’s a small cause for concern.
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