Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola confirmed that midfielder Kevin de Bruyne picked an injury ahead of their Champions League test against Real Madrid.
The Belgian international turned in a fantastic performance in City’s 5-1 Premier League win over Watford but was to be withdrawn later in the game after finding himself on the end of a string of bad tackles from the Hornets.
Speaking about the move to rest his captain, Guardiola said: “I have 14/15 players fit and in the last few games Kevin and Aymeric (Laporte) have played a lot of minutes.
“Kevin, it doesn’t look like it, but he’s playing with some disturbing niggles in his ankles, for the kicks he’s got in the last few games. At 4-1, I am thinking about that. It is not just Madrid, it’s Leeds as well. You have seen the schedule.
“That is why, at that moment, I am thinking the game is almost over and I rest the players who have played a lot of minutes.”
While the Belgian is expected to play through pain in the Madrid game, Guardiola have other worries in the midweek tie as Joao Cancelo is suspended and Kyle Walker struggling with an ankle issue.