Report: Valencia leave star man Rodrigo out of squad for Celtic clash

Brendan Rodgers, manager of Celtic waves to fans during the Ladbrokes Scottish Premiership match between Celtic and St Mirren at Celtic Park on January 23, 2019 in Glasgow, Scotland.

Scottish Premiership champions Celtic will not have to worry about Valencia's star striker Rodrigo Moreno for their Europa League clash.

Valencia's Brazilian  forward Rodrigo Moreno celebrates after scoring during the Spanish league football match Valencia CF against Real Betis at the Mestalla stadium in Valencia on March...

Valencia manager Marcelino Garcia Toral has surprisingly left star striker Rodrigo Moreno out of his squad for the trip to Celtic on Thursday, according to AS.

The Hoops stumbled to a second-placed finish in their Europa League group, finishing behind Red Bull Salzburg, and their punishment is a testing two-legged battle with Valencia, who one of the strongest sides left in the competition despite sitting ninth in La Liga.

 

But Celtic’s hopes of pulling off a shock win and reaching the round-of-16 have been handed a major boost with Rodrigo left at home for this week’s clash at Parkhead.

The Spain international has had a difficult season in front of goal, notching just seven in all competitions after plundering a career-best 19 in 2017/18. But Rodrigo is still arguably Valencia’s most dangerous player, blessed with rapid pace, intelligent movement and the ability to finish clinically in one-on-one situations.

Valencia's Brazilian forward Rodrigo Moreno (L) celebrates with Valencia's Portuguese midfielder Manuel Guedes after scoring a goal during the Spanish league football match between...

But Marcelino would seemingly prefer him to be fresh for the weekend’s La Liga clash with Espanyol, which should have Celtic’s defenders mopping their brow.

AS adds that regular left-back Jose Gaya (below) has also been left in Spain, while versatile defender Facundo Roncaglia and speedy forward Santi Mina will also be unavailable.

Jose Luis Gaya of Valencia reacts during the La Liga match between Valencia CF and Real Madrid at Mestalla Stadium on February 22, 2017 in Valencia, Spain.

Register for HITC Sport - Daily Dispatch