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Wednesday 17. May 2017 - 13:37

James Rodriguez left out of Real Madrid trip to Celta Vigo amid Manchester United reports

James Rodriguez has been left out the Real Madrid squad to face Celta Vigo on Wednesday night (17 May) amid speculation linking the Colombia international with a move to Manchester United. Gareth Bale, Dani Carvajal and Pepe also remain sidelined ahead of a crucial encounter in Los Blancos' battle with Barcelona for La Liga.

Zinedine Zidane's side have the chance to overtake the Catalans at the top of the table as the visit to Balaidos corresponds to a league game postponed from match week 21 due to bad weather.

Real Madrid are currently behind Barcelona due to their head-to-head record, but a victory in their game in hand over Celta would leave them within a point of lifting the trophy.

Cristiano Ronaldo had been rested by Zidane for the previous four La Liga away games at Leganes, Sporting Gijo, Deportivo La Coruna and Granada. However, the Ballon d'Or is expected to lead the line-up on Wednesday night to keep the pressure on Barcelona ahead of the Catalans' encounter with Eibar on Sunday.

Former Monaco playmaker James, who will miss the match, appeared to wave goodbye to the crowd on Sunday when he was substituted in the second half of a 4-1 victory over Sevilla – the final match of the season at the Santiago Bernabeu.

Reports in Colombia have since claimed Manchester United are on the verge of securing his services ahead of the 2017-18 campaign, but his absence from Zidane's squad has nothing to do with this. On Tuesday the Real Madrid boss anticipated the Colombian would not feature after he missed Tuesday's training session due to a "heavy blow".

Meanwhile, Zidane has named an extra man in his squad in order to make space for Nacho. The versatile defender is suspended to face Celta after being booked during the weekend's victory over Sevilla but Real Madrid have appealed the ban and Zidane still hopes to have the Spaniard available.

Furthermore, Bale, Carvajal and Pepe remain in the treatment room as the trio continue their respective rehabilitations in order to feature in the Champions League final against Juventus on 3 June.

Provided by: Frank Henriksen
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