sport

Ronaldo to miss Clasico final

Real Madrid will be without Cristiano Ronaldo for the Copa del Rey final against Barcelona on Wednesday after the forward failed to recover from a leg injury.

Real coach Carlo Ancelotti was hopeful Ronaldo would recover in time for the Clasico at the Mestalla stadium in Valencia, but the Portugal international has been ruled out after missing training on Tuesday.

Ancelotti's side have won two games and lost one without Ronaldo since he was sidelined with a hamstring injury on top of an already sore left knee.

Ronaldo limped off in the 3-0 Champions League victory over Borussia Dortmund earlier this month and Real have since beaten Real Sociedad and Almeria 4-0 in the league as well as losing 2-0 at Borussia Dortmund in the return leg of the quarter-final clash.

The 29-year-old, who has scored 45 goals in all competitions this season, is now hoping to return for Madrid's Champions League semi-final, first leg against Bayern Munich on April 23.

"He is unavailable because it could be a risk to put him on the pitch and we have other important games this season," Ancelotti said.

"We will be missing a player with incredible quality. But the team can play well. It will motivate the rest.

"The matches we have played without him have gone very well, working harder, running more and working together more.

"Working as a unit is of course the objective and that is what we have been training for.

"I don't think there will be any problem motivating the players, they are all very motivated and very excited. I am seeing a lot of desire to play this final."

Ancelotti is also likely to be missing Brazilian full-back Marcelo with a hamstring strain, but Sergio Ramos overcame a neck injury to train on Tuesday and is expected to take his place in the heart of the defence.

Barcelona boss Gerardo Martino also has injury worries and is waiting on the fitness of three of his centre-backs.

Captain Carles Puyol, who has barely featured this term due to a series of injuries, Gerard Pique and Marc Bartra have all been included in the squad and a late decision will be made on their availability.

Barca playmaker Andres Iniesta expects Real to be just as much of a threat without Ronaldo.

"The team doesn't change whether he is playing or not," said the Spain international.

"We know how good they are and we know their potential. If Cristiano doesn't play somebody else at the same level will."

Barca, who have won the cup a record 26 times, are looking for a morale-boosting victory after crashing out of the Champions League to Atletico Madrid last week.

They followed that up with a shock La Liga reverse at Granada on Saturday that left them four points behind leaders Atletico and one adrift of Real with five games remaining.

The latest edition of Spain's Clasico between arch-rivals Real and Barca is their 228th meeting and a repeat of the 2011 Cup final, also held at the Mestalla, when Ronaldo's extra-time header secured a 1-0 win.

Real are attempting to lift the cup for a 19th time, but have lost both meetings with Barcelona so far this season, including a remarkable game at the Bernabeu just under a month ago which ended 4-3 to the Catalans.

Watch the Copa del Rey live on Sky Sports 1 at 8.30pm on Wednesday.