Cristiano Ronaldo and Gareth Bale missed Real Madrid training on Saturday morning and won’t face Espanyol on Sunday night.
The Portuguese superstar has the flu, confirmed his coach Zinedine Zidane, while Bale will be rested as a precaution with the Bernabeu club looking to avoid aggravating his hip injury early on in the season.
“If they were to give Bale another knock in the same area and then we didn’t have him for 10 days it wouldn’t be good,” said Zidane.
“It’s difficult with games every three days to keep everyone fit… I prefer Bale to be there on Wednesday at 200%.”
And with £150million worth of forward power missing, there will be a chance for James Rodriguez to return to the starting XI and state his case for a regular spot after some productive cameos in recent weeks.
“James is going to play,” said Zidane.
“He’s a very important player for this team and he’s looking really good.
“He’s going to be involved and he’s going to get his minutes.”
Real Madrid will be bidding to equal Barcelona’s record of 16 consecutive La Liga wins, set under manager Pep Guardiola in the 2010-11 season. when they visit Espanyol
Currently Real Madrid is second following FC Barcelona on the domestic league table.