The key to a team's overall success is ensuring that their best players get an occasional rest, but Real Madrid coach Jose Mourinho does not seem to share that philosophy. His team has an important match against Sevilla FC today, and general consensus is that star forward Cristiano Ronaldo will not be rested, thus assuming a big risk for Madrid.
Speaking to Goal.com, Sevilla coach Unai Emery speculated that Ronaldo would play from start to finish, with no rest whatsoever.
It's certainly a game where Ronaldo can afford to get at least some rest. Madrid ranks third in La Liga with 43 points compared to 11th-ranked Sevilla, who has just 29. The numbers say that they should win this game easily.
However, the adage says that the hardest games are usually the ones against the seemingly easy teams, so maybe Mourinho is right in not resting Ronaldo. This season, the man has scored 21 goals and has been a key player in Madrid's performance.
That said, an exhausted Cristiano Ronaldo is of no use to Real Madrid in a game that could mean more than initially appears. Just as we have seen in other professional sports like baseball, basketball and even hockey, fatigue is indeed a factor.
Granted, soccer players are probably the best athletes in the entire world, so Ronaldo's conditioning is surely up to par. Just the same, it's probably best for Mourinho to give his star at least a few minutes of rest against Sevilla. Soccer is a game where just one second can make a difference, and it's best to play it safe with a player as important as Ronaldo.
The team otherwise goes down a path that is the riskiest roll of the dice, one that could potentially end in a shocking result against a low-ranked Sevilla squad. If that result is from Ronaldo not getting rest when he should, then Mourinho is going to have a lot of explaining to do when it comes time to talk to the press.