Fans of Barcelona have this evening taken to social media to take aim at manager Ernesto Valverde over his use of Lionel Messi, after Real Madrid’s Cristiano Ronaldo was substituted with half an hour to go versus Atletico Madrid.
The Madrid derby took place at Real’s Bernabeu this evening, with the hosts having come into proceedings hoping to close the gap on their inner-city rivals in the La Liga table.
Ahead of kick-off, Atletico (2nd) sat 4 points clear of Real (3rd) in the Spanish top-flight, with both clubs trailing behind runaway Liga leaders Barcelona.
— Real Madrid C.F. (@realmadrid) April 8, 2018
— Atlético de Madrid (@atletienglish) April 8, 2018
An entertaining affair in the Spanish capital this evening saw hosts Real control the majority of possession and create most of the clear-cut chances, but the two sides share the spoils after 90 minutes.
Cristiano Ronaldo handed the home side the lead ten minutes after the interval with a volley from a pinpoint Gareth Bale cross, but Los Blancos’ advantage lasted just 4 minutes, as Antoine Griezmann levelled things up after the ball fell kindly to him in the Real box just before the hour mark.
While the majority of the talk online understandably surrounded the action on the pitch and the battle between Ronaldo and Griezmann, the decision of Real boss Zinedine Zidane to take Ronaldo off with half an hour remaining in the clash has since led to an interesting debate regarding Lionel Messi.
Messi, who of course led Barcelona to 3 points with a hat-trick versus Leganes last night, has been handed very little rest by manager Ernesto Valverde to this point in the campaign, a fact which large sections of Blaugrana fans have called into question of late, especially after the Argentine’s recent injury.
And Zidane’s hauling off of his side’s star man with one eye on Los Merengues’ upcoming European ventures has since seen Valverde’s treatment of Messi come to the fore amongst Barca’s fans once again, as showcased below:
Zidane saving up Ronaldo for the big games, but Valverde the shit cunt will care more about an unbeaten streak…
— adí (@posicionMessi) April 8, 2018
Ronaldo being subbed off sums up the great treatment of his fitness, which is exactly what we should be doing with Messi rather than constantly play him for 90 minutes of every single game.
— J. (@Messilizer) April 8, 2018
Ronaldo gets fucking rest and Messi plays a full 90. FFS.
— Taha (@theofficialtaha) April 8, 2018
Ronaldo getting rest whiles Messi has to cover the entire attacking area in useless games smh
— 🗣 (@TheRielest) April 8, 2018
Zidane is a manager, taking off Ronaldo, Valverde can learn from this #RealMadridAtleti
— Djela (@DiLyrikalKilla) April 8, 2018
Second time this past week that I’m enjoying Ronaldo’s box prowess.. valverde we can start full squad Rotations now..
— benHHHAAmin (@Emperor_Ronkov) April 8, 2018
See what zidane doing? Took off ronaldo in Madrid derby. Our coach had Messi play 90 mins against leganes at home
— Non Potest (@TheMorrisonView) April 8, 2018
Ronaldo being rested for the CL whilst Valverde plays Messi at every given chance
— MM (@MoeyClicks) April 8, 2018
ngl, i sorta wish valverde would do the same… zidane doesn’t NEED the win today, but he does need ronaldo in the long run. messi, suarez, rakitic, pique etc. could all do w smart rotation & rest
— Alex Barbier (@itsalexbarbier) April 8, 2018