Real Madrid star Cristiano Ronaldo close to missing Barcelona showdown

Real Madrid defender Dani Carvajal picked up a tactical yellow card in Saturday’s (8 April) draw with Atletico Madrid to serve a one-match suspension that will see him return in time for the El Clásico showdown with Barcelona.

But Cristiano Ronaldo will enter next Saturday’s La Liga clash with Sporting Gijón walking a tightrope. Should he pick up a yellow card in that match, the four-time Ballon d’Or winner will be suspended for the season-defining derby at the Santiago Bernabéu on 23 April.

Real were held to a draw on Saturday after Pepe’s second-half opener was wiped out by Antoine Griezmann’s neat finish with just four minutes of the match remaining.

Carvajal, 25, started the match having already picked up four yellow cards this season and made sure he picked up a fifth to earn himself an automatic one-match suspension after a lunge on Ángel Correa.

That booking rules him out of next weekend’s trip to relegation-threatened Sporting Gijón – but it means Real’s first-choice right-back will return with a clean slate in time for El Clásico.

Ronaldo, however, will have to watch his step next week. The Portugal international, who has 19 La Liga goals to his name this season, is on four yellow cards but was not tempted into picking up another caution in Saturday’s draw with Atletico.

Thanks to Barcelona’s 2-0 defeat to Malaga on Saturday evening, Real now hold a three-point lead over their arch-rivals having also played one game more. Given that slight advantage, manager Zinedine Zidane may choose to take Ronaldo out of the firing line and rest him against Sporting next Saturday.

The crucial El Clásico match is already at risk of missing one of its A-list names, with Barcelona forward Neymar also in jeopardy of missing out through suspension.

The Brazil international was sent off during Saturday’s 2-0 defeat to Malaga for two bookable offences. After his second, the 25-year-old was picked up on camera sarcastically applauding the decision of the fourth official, who was closest to the incident.

Referee Jesús Gil Manzano made note of Neymar’s reaction in his final report. Neymar’s red card immediately rules him out of next Saturday’s clash with Real Sociedad, but that suspension could be extended. – IBtimes

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