This day in history of Ronaldo
MADRID (AFP) - Real Madrid coach Carlos Queiroz may be regretting his decision not to risk David Beckham after the reigning Spanish champions could only scramble to a lacklustre 0-0 draw at lowly Real Zaragoza.
The result meant that Real blew their chance to go to the top of the Spanish first division and stay in second with 20 points.
League leaders Deportivo La Coruna have 21 points while third-placed Valencia have 19. Both teams play on Wednesday.
Beckham trained normally on Monday after suffering a strained hamstring against Partizan Belgrade in the Champions League last Wednesday, missing Saturday's 3-1 win over Racing Santander, but Queiroz decided to rest the England captain and his absence showed.
Real's best chance came midway through the second half when a Robert Carlos shot ricochetted off the post but his fellow Brazilian Ronaldo could only send the ball wide.
Raul Gonzalez, who was Real's hero four days ago when his two goals in the last 12 minutes clinched the victory over Racing, had a night to forget on the ground where he made his first division debut almost nine years ago to the day.
The Spanish international striker missed numerous opportunities, including several early in the first half which could have changed the direction of the game.
Zaragoza had chances themselves to score a surprise win with their roaming Argentine midfielder Luciano Galletti going close twice in the first half, including hitting the post 10 minutes before the break.
The man of the match was arguably Zaragoza's Argentine defender Gabriel Milito, who gained revenge over the club that showed him the door during the summer, over a supposed failed medical test when he was all set to sign for Real.
Showing no signs of the alleged knee problems which caused Real to back track on his acquisition, Milito stopped almost everything that Real's star-studded strike force could throw at him.
"My family talk more about revenge than I do, because they suffered as well during those days. I just want to forget what went on," said Milito on Tuesday, giving Real more respect off the pitch than they had given him.
Real's woes were not helped by the fact that they had to play the last 20 minutes with 10 men after central defender Francisco Pavon got his marching orders after being shown his second yellow card.
Pavon will miss Saturday's match with Athletic Bilbao but Beckham is almost certain to return, so Ivan Helguera is likely to move from the midfield into the back four.
Deportivo, who have a 100 per cent record at home, play host to struggling Real Mallorca on Wednesday, while Valencia have a more tricky set of visitors with Celta Vigo comoning to their Mestalla stadium.
At the other end of the table the axe hangs over Espanyol coach Javier Clemente when his team travel to play Racing Santander on Wednesday, with defeat probably spelling the end of his tenure at the Barcelona-based club.
Last season, the former Spanish national coach came up with the magic recipe to save Espanyol from relegation after taking over in December when they were bottom of the league, but this season they have yet to win and are back at the bottom with just two points.
Several directors are known to have demanded a change after the 4-0 home defeat to Celta Vigo on Sunday but club president Daniel Sanchez Llibre has backed Clemente, at least until Wednesday.
"The president has assured him (Clemente) of his position, but we know that we do not have much more time," said Espanyol club captain and Spanish international Raul Tamudo on Tuesday, who added that he wanted Clemente to stay.