There is never an opportune time for an injury, but there are certainly times that are worse than others. For Cristiano Ronaldo, the timing couldn’t be much worse.
It was revealed on Wednesday that the Real Madrid star forward has a leg injury, which is poorly timed considering Portugal are a mere 12 days from their World Cup matchup against powerhouse Germany.
According to The Guardian’s report, Ronaldo missed last weekend’s match with Greece because of a nagging muscle strain in his thigh. Combine that with tendinosis in his left leg, and serious questions arise about the health of the Ballon d’Or winner.
Ronaldo was able to train on Tuesday, but did so on a limited basis separate from the rest of his team. With less than two weeks before Portugal’s opener, it is critical that Ronaldo is fit and able to perform up to his elite, breathtaking ability.
It is unknown whether he will suit up in the upcoming friendlies against Mexico and Ireland, but the fact that he is practicing, even on a limited basis, is encouraging.
Portugal’s bid for a World Cup title dwindles without its best striker. He scored 31 goals for Real Madrid this past season, and a price can’t be put on his ability to find the net. Although he only scored one goal during the 2010 World Cup before his team lost to eventual champion Spain in the round of 16, his presence on the pitch must always be accounted for. If too many defenders key in on the forward, his teammates are there to take advantage.
Nani, Portugal’s winger, believes his teammate will be ready to play by July 16, per The Guardian: "I don’t believe the situation with Ronaldo is worrying. He’s going well, and he is relaxed about it. Things are going the right way. We hope that Cristiano is in good enough shape to play and to help the team."
Ronaldo’s left leg will be carefully monitored over the next few weeks, and Portugal’s medical staff must strike the appropriate balance between giving his injuries time to rest and making sure he is fit enough to play.
Following their tough match with Germany, Portugal must face the rest of Group G, as the team will take on USA and Ghana in a span of 10 days.
Anything can happen in the World Cup, and Portugal were not guaranteed to advance out of their group before news broke of Ronaldo’s injury. It is fair to wonder where the team's chances stand now, because even if the captain is fit enough to play, his effectiveness may be compromised.
Going up against the world's best on its grandest stage, if Ronaldo plays at anything less than 100 percent, it will affect his ability to shine and help his team advance.
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