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Rodrygo ruled out of Madrid derby despite superb debut

Rodrygo ruled out of Madrid derby despite superb debut
FILE PHOTO: Soccer Football - La Liga Santander - Real Madrid v Osasuna - Santiago Bernabeu, Madrid, Spain - September 25, 2019 Real Madrid's Rodrygo celebrates scoring their second goal REUTERS/Juan Medina -
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MADRID (Reuters) – Real Madrid’s teenage forward Rodrygo Goes will not feature in Saturday’s derby against Atletico Madrid in La Liga despite scoring on his debut midweek, coach Zinedine Zidane has said.

Rodrygo, 18, signed for Real for 48 million euros ($52.54 million) last year from Santos but only got his first taste of action on Wednesday against Osasuna when he came off the bench in the second half.

He made an instant impact within 90 seconds of coming on, demonstrating his pace and skill to control a pass and dash past defenders into the box to score with a sweeping low finish to seal a 2-0 win which took his side top of the table.

The Brazilian has been rotating between the first team and Real’s reserve side Castilla who play in the third tier of Spanish football, and Zidane said the teenager would feature for Castilla at the weekend and play no part in the derby.

“We know exactly what we are doing with him, tomorrow he will play for Castilla but that doesn’t change anything,” Zidane told a news conference on Friday.

“He is a first team player but we are taking things little by little. We took this decision a while ago, he will play with Castilla tomorrow and he is delighted to do so.”

Rodrygo was one of many peripheral squad members to feature against Osasuna as Zidane rested many of his first choice players for the short trip to Atletico, who are third in the table, one point behind Real.

Real have also been boosted by the return of Isco and Luka Modric to training, although left back Ferland Mendy is ruled out through injury and fellow left back Marcelo is a doubt.

Zidane’s side were routed 7-3 by Atletico in their last meeting, a pre-season friendly in New Jersey, but the coach said his side have paid no attention to that game and not watched any videos of it in order to prepare for Saturday.

The Frenchman also sought to deflate the hype ahead of the derby.

“It’s not a special game, it’s just another league game tomorrow and we want to win it. We won’t change our strategy, we will have a very difficult side up against us, but so will they,” he said.

(Reporting by Richard Martin; editing by Emelia Sithole-Matarise)

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