Here we go! Real Madrid kicks off their new season on Aug. 20, but La Liga’s reigning champs face Deportivo La Coruna at 4:15 PM ET without Cristiano Ronaldo? Will they still prevail?
Probably. This is Real Madrid we’re talking about. Even though Cristiano Rolando, 32, will be sitting out this game, Los Blancos still have plenty of firepower to take down Deportivio de La Coruna. This is the team with Gareth Bale, 28, Karim Benzema, 29, Marco Asensio, 21, — and that’s literally just scratching the surface. The team is massively stacked with talent, and its not that far-fetched to think they’ll repeat as La Liga champs (yes, even though the season literally hasn’t started yet.) Of course, if Los Blancos sleep on Deportivo when they meet Branquiazuis at Estadio Riazor, they could start the season with a loss.
If any fans in A Coruña, Spain were expecting to Ronaldo, too bad. Cristiano’s serving out the rest of his five-game suspicion he earned in the first game of the Spanish Super Cup. Ronaldo got whacked with a red card after a ref thought he took a dive. A irritated Cristiano shoved the ref, and though it wasn’t a forceful push, putting your hands on the ref is big “no-no.” In addition to the one game ban that comes with a red card, Ronaldo got hit with a four-game ban. Real Madrid’s appeal was rejected and he’ll stay at home until Real plays Real Betis in September (he will still be eligible for the Champions League, btw.)
“It’s impossible to stay quiet in this situation, five matches!” Ronaldo said via Instagram on Aug. 16, right before Real Madrid wrecked Barcelona in the second leg of the Spanish Super Cup, per Deadspin. “To me it seems exaggerated and ridiculous, this is what you call persecution! Thanks to my team-mates and to the fans for the support.” Uh-oh. The last time Ronaldo felt persecuted, he was talking about how the Spanish income office was going after him over accusations of tax fraud.
During that fracas, Ronaldo felt as if Real Madrid didn’t have his back and was contemplating leaving Los Blancos and Spain behind. If he’s sitting at home while his teammates start the season, will Ronaldo revive his push towards an exit? Could another team pull a Paris Saint-Germain / Neymar situation and pony up the massive money needed to recruit (arguably) the best player in the world?
Who do you want to win this game, HollywoodLifers?