Angel di Maria will be dropped to the bench for Real Madrid's Copa del Rey clash with Osasuna, but coach Carlo Ancelotti insists his decision is not founded upon a need to protect the winger from the wrath of the Santiago Bernabeu.
The Argentina international sparked controversy in Monday's Liga win against Celta Vigo by grabbing his groin as he was leaving the field to be replaced by Gareth Bale.
Di Maria subsequently denied that this was intended as a vulgar response to the whistles of the home fans, and Ancelotti says the player must be taken at his word.
"We have to believe Di Maria," the Blancos boss told reporters Wednesday. "Even if anyone thinks it was an ugly gesture, he has apologized. So, the matter ends here. I do not think Di Maria will have any problems [with the crowd] in his next game at the Bernabeu. The fans are very demanding but they are also close to the players.
"Di Maria will not start the game [against Osasuna] but not for this reason. It is because Bale did not start against Celta. Di Maria still has our trust. There is no problem. The dressing room is calm. We all just want to have a good season."
Di Maria, of course, had been linked with a move away from the Spanish capital even before this week's controversy but Ancelotti insists that there will be no departures - or arrivals - during the January transfer window.
"We think it very clear that there will be no exits or entrances," the Italian said. "We have a very good squad, all of the players are fine, we have no particular injuries, and we hope to recover [defender Raphael] Varane in 15 days. This is why we do not need anyone."
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- Di Maria
- Gareth Bale
- Celta Vigo