Real Madrid manager Julen Lopetegui has indicated that captain Sergio Ramos has only been rested for the midweek Champions League clash at CSKA Moscow. The Spain international has been ever-present for Los Blancos since the season began but Lopetegui has chosen to rest him for the Moscow trip amid concerns that he has been overused during the opening phase of the campaign.

Speaking to reporters, Lopetegui said: “Ramos hasn’t travelled because he has played about 120 minutes more than his team-mates. We’re looking at this as a marathon, the whole season, the bigger picture. Another player can come in and play his position. That’s my job – to sit in this seat and make these kinds of decisions.”

Meanwhile, Los Blancos have suffered a stuttering phase in the Spanish La Liga where they have picked up just four points from the previous three matches but Lopetegui has stressed that it is not a cause for concern, given they had a testing game versus Atletico Madrid last weekend, he added: “It was a very tough demanding game against a tough opponent. We had one less day to prepare for the game. I think overall there were plenty of positives. Of course there were a couple of setbacks but we showed we had players who can come in and play well.”

Aside from Ramos, Real Madrid have also left out Gareth Bale, Marcelo and Isco who are all sidelined with injuries and this sees a team with youth and experience headed for the game against CSKA. Nonetheless, they should fancy their prospects of bagging another victory, though they will need to be wary of the threat offered from the likes of Alan Dragoev.

The reigning European champions are currently leading Group G of the Champions League with three points already on the board and another victory would surely firm their prospects of cementing the first spot, should AS Roma stumble in the other outing.