Cristiano Ronaldo is expected to take the field with the rest of Portugal’s squad when they face Ireland in a friendly in preparation for the 2014 World Cup, which kicks-off on Thursday in Brazil. But will he be ready to face Germany in their opener June 16?
That is a big question for the best player in the world, who has been looking forward to this day to realize one of his lifelong dreams: bring the World Cup trophy to Portugal.
However, many things are questionable with Ronaldo at the moment, since he is suffering from tendonitis to his left leg, which hampered the last weeks of his participation in La Liga season, as well as in the UEFA Champions League.
Cristiano was scratched by his Real Madrid manager, Carlo Ancelotti, on several occasions in the last weeks of the Spanish season; after he was injured and even though they tried to downplay it, it was apparent that the situation was a lot more serious than what they were sharing with the fans. So much so, that it is very possible that Real lost La Liga title, in part, because of Ronaldo’s injury, alhough the Champions, Atletico Madrid, would beg to differ.
Now, after a brutal season for the injured Portuguese superstar, the questions remain. Is he healthy enough to play? More importantly, will playing affect his future career in an even greater way?
Portugal’s coach, Paulo Bento, has a tough road in front of him. Of course, anyone who is a fan of the sport wants to see the best of the best in World Cup — starting this week — and Ronaldo is right at the top of that list. A World Cup without Cristiano Ronaldo would be greatly disappointing.
After returning to Portugal to join his teammates a few days after the UCL final, Ronaldo has been kept in the trainer’s room, and only in the last few days he was seen practicing with the rest of the squad that will travel to Brazil in the next few days.
Portugal was drawn to play against Germany, the U.S., and Ghana in the “Group of Death,” Group G at the World Cup.
For the U.S., which is not expected to move to the round of 16 — especially after leaving out Landon Donovan — Ronaldo’s doubtful physical condition is welcome news and could mean the difference between going home and possibly qualifying for the next round.
But for Bento the goal remains, no matter what Cristiano Ronaldo’s physical condition is:
“It’s going to be a balanced group with four strong teams so it’s going to be very difficult for us, but we will fight to the end to achieve our first goal, which is to reach the knockout phase. We still have a few mistakes that we need to correct before the World Cup.”
Luckily for Cristiano Ronaldo and his Portuguese team, Germany is not free of from injury either and on Friday they lost midfielder Marco Reus. Not at the same level as the Ballon d’Or winner, but a big blow to the Germans nonetheless.
The friendly against Ireland will be a good indication as to where Ronaldo is in his physical fitness and it will reveal if he really is ready to take the field again for the World Cup in Brazil.
[Image via Bing]