Cristiano Ronaldo’s substitution in Real Madrid’s 2-2 draw at Levante in La Liga was not to rest the player, Zinedine Zidane has confirmed.
Ronaldo was taken off by Zidane immediately after substitute Isco had struck with nine minutes left to put Madrid back in front at Ciutat de Valencia on Saturday.
But a lapse in defensive concentration subsequently allowed Levante to score their second equaliser of the game one minute from time, substitute Giampaolo Pazzini striking on his debut for the club.
After the match, Zidane insisted Ronaldo’s substitution was not fitness-related.
“No. It was planned to change him, and that’s all,” Zidane told beIN SPORTS after the match.
“We had the game under control, the most difficult is to score goals. We got to 2-1, but in the end, two mistakes cost us the two goals.
Asked again about Ronaldo in his post-match press conference, Zidane added: “I changed him as I wanted another player a bit more in the middle of the pitch, to defend with Marco Asensio and Karim [Benzema].”