September 27, 2019 / 1:38 PM / 19 days ago

Rodrygo left out of Madrid derby despite superb debut

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 in midweek, coach Zinedine Zidane has said.

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

Rodrygo, 18, joined Real for 48 million euros (42.7 million pounds) 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 at the Bernabeu.

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

The Brazilian has been rotated 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 several 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 the leaders.

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

Atletico’s former Real striker Alvaro Morata is suspended after being sent off in Wednesday’s 2-0 win at Real Mallorca.

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

Atletico coach Diego Simeone praised Real for picking themselves up after their chastening 3-0 Champions League defeat at Paris St Germain by beating Sevilla and Osasuna, and said he did not envisage a repeat of the friendly thrashing.

“These types of games are very tight. They are decided by details that unbalance the game from one side to the other,” he said.

“Real Madrid have improved a lot in the games against Sevilla and Osasuna and I think they will play in the same way against us.”

Reporting by Richard Martin; editing by Emelia Sithole-Matarise and Ken Ferris

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