Zinedine Zidane is set to rest Cristiano Ronaldo when Real Madrid visit Espanyol on Tuesday (27 February) with the trip to the Barcelona's neighbours coming just a week before the decisive second leg of the Champions League last-16 against Paris Saint-Germain.
Casemiro has also been left out of Zidane's 19-man squad due to illness while Luka Modric, Marcelo, Toni Kroos and long-term injury absentee Jesus Vallejo remain on the sidelines.
Meanwhile, Marco Asensio is back to face his former side having recovered from the dental issue which forced him out the Saturday's [24 February] 4-0 win over Alaves.
Ronaldo has rediscovered his best form in 2018 after bouncing back from a disappointing start to the campaign.
The Ballon d'Or winner has scored 12 goals in his last seven appearances for Real, including a brace against PSG to help his side to secure a 3-1 advantage ahead of the next week's second leg.
Zidane wants Ronaldo to continue that good run ahead of the title run-in and has thus decided to leave him at home for the clash with Espanyol which will come only four days before a Madrid derby with Getafe.
"Cristiano knows himself very well and we always talk to him. It's very important to always have Cristiano at the top level. He knows that from time to time he has to rest and that's it," Zidane anticipated in his Monday's press conference before announcing on Tuesday morning that the Portugal international won't make the trip to Barcelona with the rest of his available teammates.
"The season is very long and he's also a player who will play in the World Cup at the end of the season. You may think that players don't think about that and it may be true, but unconsciously it's in their heads. I know because I've experienced it. The World Cup is the World Cup.
"It is a pleasure for a player to know that there are a lot of important matches coming up and then there is a World Cup, which is played every four years. The World Cup has nothing to do with this being a difficult season for us."
Gareth Bale and Karim Benzema both scored in the 4-0 win over Alaves at the weekend and they are expected to lead the attack alongside Asensio with Real in search of a sixth consecutive victory.
Meanwhile, the likes of Isco, Mateo Kovacic and Theo Hernandez could also have a new chance to impress against Espanyol with the trip to Barcelona still coming too early for Modric, Marcelo, Kroos and Jesus Vallejo.
Furthermore, Zidane was forced to promote Oscar from the second team to replace Casemiro after the Brazilian holding midfielder fell ill in the lead up to the game.