Real Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane says Cristiano Ronaldo has no problem with being rested, while adding that his rotation policy will continue as the club challenge on all fronts over the coming months.
Zidane rested Ronaldo for Wednesday's 3-0 Copa del Rey win over Sevilla and has left him out on five occasions this season, while substituting him on four other occasions, marking a change from previous campaigns when he was almost always selected when available.
The Portugal captain has not always been happy when left out or taken off in the past, but Zidane told a news conference that the player agrees with the change of policy.
"Cristiano is a very intelligent player," Zidane said. "I want to have him for the whole season. We have 20 games in the next 60 days. Sometimes he too has to rest. That is the way I see it, and he sees it the same. There is no problem. He always wants to play, but we speak about it and know what is best. We try and play with all the players we have, to aim to win everything in front of us."
TV pictures from Wednesday's game showed Ronaldo in the Santiago Bernabeu tunnel at half-time, meeting his teammates and congratulating James Rodriguez on his brace.
"Cristiano is a leader on and off the pitch," Zidane said. "He is completely committed, even when he does not play. For example, before and after games he always comes into the dressing room and talks to all the players. Maybe outsiders see it less, but he has tremendous energy and transmits it to the others. That is important for the group."
Some Sevilla players and fans were unhappy with the refereeing in Wednesday's game, with Barcelona's Gerard Pique alleging bias against his side after they were beaten at Athletic Bilbao on Thursday evening.
"I do not want to enter in this debate," Zidane said. "It's always the same with the referees, they have a very difficult job and I do not comment on it."
Madrid have a chance to equal the Spanish club record of 39 games unbeaten in all competitions -- currently held by last season's Barcelona -- on Saturday when they host 19th-placed Granada at the Bernabeu.
Zidane said that such consistency was due to the hard work and professionalism of his squad, while he stressed that they must not underestimate their opponents.
"We know the quality of these players, but what stands out for me is their professionalism, working hard every day," he said. "It is very difficult to do what they are doing. We have done a lot, but there is still a long way to go, many games to play.
"[Granada] will make it difficult for us. Playing every three days there is little time to recover or work. But our idea is to prepare well and play a good game."
Meanwhile, Gareth Bale, Pepe, Mateo Kovacic and Lucas Vazquez all remain on Madrid's injured list, with Lucas closest to regaining full fitness but not yet ready to return. Club captain Sergio Ramos is suspended for Saturday's game.