Real Madrid: Rodrygo to drop down to Castilla
Having been left out of Real Madrid's squad to face Levante, Rodrygo Goes is expected to play for Los Blancos' 'B' team this weekend.
The darling of the Bernabéu when he scored a Champions League hat-trick against Galatasaray in November, Rodrygo Goes has now slipped down the Real Madrid pecking order to the point where he has become a regular absentee from Zinedine Zidane's matchday squads.
This weekend, the 18-year-old has again been left out as leaders Madrid travel to face Levante in LaLiga (Saturday, 21:00 CET) - the third game in a row that he has failed to make the list.
Rodrygo set to join Reinier in Castilla team this weekend
Having started out in Madrid's 'B' team, Castilla, following his summer arrival from Santos, Rodrygo is still officially registered as a member of the reserve squad - and, five months after his last appearance for Raúl González Blanco's side, is expected to drop down to play for them on Sunday.
Club sources have confirmed to the Spanish agency EFE that the Brazilian will feature in Castilla's Segunda División B match against San Sebastián de los Reyes, together with newly signed compatriot Reinier Jesus.
Rodrygo in no mood to panic despite drop down pecking order
Rodrygo's current dip in fortunes comes in a maiden campaign in Madrid that has frequently seen Zidane prefer him to fellow Brazilian winger Vinicius Júnior; indeed, he has at times been a mainstay in the Frenchman's starting line-ups. In February, however, he has mustered just 14 minutes of playing time.
AS understands that Rodyrgo is not panicking, though. Just as he was sure to keep his feet on the ground when he was starting, scoring goals and earning plaudits, he is now at pains not to lose perspective, despite his drop in status. He has played over 1,000 first-team minutes across four different competitions (LaLiga, the Champions League, the Copa del Rey and the Spanish Super Cup): when he made the move to Spain, he would have readily accepted being at this point in the early new year.
Zidane: Rodrygo "has shown that he belongs here"
Speaking ahead of Madrid's trip to the Ciutat de Valencia, moreover, Zidane sought to reassure Rodrygo when asked about his recent fringe role. "We know he's an important player for us," 'Zizou' told reporters on Friday lunchtime. "When everyone's available, though, you have to make a choice when naming your squad.
"He has time on his side. He's 18 and has shown that he belongs here."