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Cristiano Ronaldo out of Real Madrid Copa del Rey squad, Ramos returns

Zinedine Zidane was praised by some of the Real Madrid greats for his managerial success after just one season.

Real Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane has rested Cristiano Ronaldo for Thursday's Copa del Rey game at Sevilla, with Luka Modric also absent but Sergio Ramos, Mateo Kovacic and Lucas Vazquez returning.

With Madrid holding a 3-0 advantage from the first leg, Ronaldo has been left out ahead of the key La Liga clash against the same opponents at the weekend.

The Portugal captain was also left out of the first leg and, speaking before his omission from the squad for the second had been confirmed, Zidane told a news conference: "He could travel or not. But nothing will change. Our idea remains that all the players are important, even having won 3-0 in the first leg."

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Soon after he had finished the news conference, Madrid released the details of their 19-man squad, with Ronaldo and Modric absent.

The coach said he was happy to have centre-back Ramos and winger Lucas Vazquez available again, adding: "They are both fine.

"Sergio as captain will be with us, and Lucas too. He looks very good and has no problems now."

Real are without the injured Gareth Bale, Pepe and Isco, while James Rodriguez is also unlikely to be risked because of a minor muscle problem.

"James felt something in his calf muscle," Zidane said. "It is not a big deal, but we must be prudent as we have many games. We will not take any risks with him."

Zidane said he expected tough challenges against a Sevilla side second in La Liga. "They will be strong and make it difficult for us at the start of the game. We must be ready for that," he said.

"Sevilla are doing phenomenally well, with quality players. We know this is a very, very important week for us."

He praised their on-loan Arsenal midfielder Samir Nasri, calling him "a player with a lot of talent who has had an incredible start to the season."

Dermot Corrigan is a Madrid-based football writer who covers La Liga and the Spain national team for ESPN FC. Follow him on Twitter @dermotmcorrigan

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