Real Madrid manager Zinedine Zidane will rest Cristiano Ronaldo and Luka Modric for the second leg of the Copa del Rey last 16 match at Sevilla on Thursday night (12 January) after Los Blancos secured a 3-0 advantage in last week's reverse fixture. James Rodriguez, Isco, Pepe and Gareth Bale will also miss the game, but Sergio Ramos and Lucas Vazquez return to the 19-man squad following a spell on the sidelines.
Ronado already missed the first leg of the tie as Zidane recently revealed that he and the Ballon d'Or have agreed for the 31-year-old to sit some games out in order to arrive at the final stretch of the campaign with fresh legs.
The newly crowned Fifa men's player of 2016 returned to action and scored in the weekend's 5-0 victory over Granada but will once again sit out alongside Modric for the seeming dead rubber at Sevilla.
Zidane, only minutes before releasing the squad, refused to confirm whether Ronaldo was going to play against Sevilla – but added that Real Madrid would not take anything for granted on Thursday night.
"From here to the end of the season we'll have difficult matches, this is one of them and we'll always have to fight. Tomorrow we'll have to overcome problems, I'm sure about that. They are going to come out strongly. I know how football is and when you lose 3-0, the start of the game is going to be tough and difficult. We have to be ready at the start of the game. Then we'll see how the game evolves. We're looking forward to a very tough game and we're going to have to overcome problems, I'm sure of that," Zidane said in the press conference ahead of the game.
"You'll see who's going to travel," he replied when asked whether Ronaldo was going to be rested. "The idea is that everyone is important. Although we won 3-0 in the first leg, we're going to use our heads and respect everyone. You'll see tomorrow who's going to travel and how we're going to play. We have a match tomorrow and that's the most important thing".
Real Madrid will visit Jorge Sampaoli's side again on Sunday for a crucial La Liga encounter as the Andalucians are currently second on the table, one point ahead of Barcelona and only four behind Los Blancos, who still have a game in hand.
James, Isco, Pepe and Gareth Bale are also unavailable for the Copa del Rey encounter due to different injury concerns. The Colombia international and Isco did not train with the rest of their teammates on Tuesday, while Pepe and Bale continued their recoveries from respective injuries on their own.
"James has a problem in the calf. We don't want to risk it, but it's a small thing. We have a lot of games to play and we'll see how it evolves," Zidane confirmed.
The France boss thus promoted his son Enzo from the second team to cope with the number of absences in the middle of the park, while also welcoming back both captain Ramos and Vazquez to the squad after the Spanish duo missed the opening games of 2017, having picked up injuries in the December's Club World Cup.
"Ramos and Lucas are both in. Sergio, as captain, will be with us. And Lucas, too. He has no problem and will be with us," Zidane said, failing to confirm whether he will also give a rest to Casemiro ahead of having him fresh for the crucial second trip to Sevilla at the weekend.
"Casemiro has rested a lot because he's had a long injury. Now he's OK and we know how important he is in the middle of the field, both for the forwards and for the defence. Tomorrow he'll be with us and we'll see if he plays," the Real Madrid boss concluded.