Real Madrid star Cristiano Ronaldo will be playing against Real Sociedad on Saturday, though he would have been wise to rest up his ankles by not playing in an effort to prepare for Portugal's World Cup playoff next week against Sweden.
One can easily make the argument that the playoff match is much more important than Real Madrid's match against Real Sociedad, with a 100 percent healthy Ronaldo enough to give the competitive edge to Portugal.
Manager Carlo Ancelotti has options outside of Ronaldo to play for Real and Ronaldo could have prompted his coach to go for another option instead of testing his ankles.
Either Angel di Maria or Alvaro Morata is capable of replacing the striker, even if matching Ronaldo's potential production isn't very easy.
Even without Ronaldo, Real Madrid are in line to take points from Real Sociedad. They've allowed goals recently because of poor defending, but correcting those issues should make this match an easy win—with or without Ronaldo.
They have the offensive firepower from other strikers to more than mitigate the loss of Ronaldo. Ronaldo should understand this and know that it's smarter for him to rest up this week in hopes of being at full health for Portugal.
Sure, I get that Ronaldo is a fierce competitor and wants to be out there for his team. That's certainly commendable and you can't necessarily fault the guy for wanting to play.
That doesn't mean playing is the smartest move for him, though, as he's had ankle problems in the past. The fact that it's a recurring problem worries me just a bit.
The importance of Portugal's match against Sweden far outweighs the importance of his match this Saturday. Real Sociedad are far from the team Real Madrid are—with or without Ronaldo.
Yahoo! Sports Canada says that there is no favorite in the Portugal-Sweden match, given how talented each side is, but a perfectly healthy Ronaldo would undoubtedly give Portugal the advantage.
Ronaldo will be pitted against Sweden's Zlatan Ibrahimovich, one of the top players on Sweden's side. It will be a competitive matchup from the start of play, but if Ronaldo isn't playing on two strong ankles, the advantage seemingly goes to Ibrahimovich and Sweden.
One of Portugal or Sweden will miss out on the 2014 World Cup. Ronaldo certainly doesn't want to be the reason why his team doesn't move on to the tournament.
That's exactly why he should not be suiting up for Real Madrid's match against Real Sociedad. The risks of hurting his ankles even more are just too real.
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