Cristiano Ronaldo looks fully fit according to his Portugal teammate Gonçalo Paciencia, despite the 34-year-old being substituted in two consecutive games by Juventus boss Maurizio Sarri.
Ronaldo and his manager have reportedly endured a tumultuous relationship since the Italian took over in the summer and the former Chelsea man withdrew the forward before the hour mark in the club’s most recent Serie A game against Milan.
The former Real Madrid and Manchester United player reacted furiously to this decision and stormed straight down the tunnel, with some reports even suggesting that he left the Allianz Stadium before full-time – risking an anti-doping violation in the process.
Sarri alleged that this substitution was made to protect Ronaldo from aggravating a knee injury.
As quoted in AS, the Juventus boss said after the game: “He was hit in a training session. He suffered a knee bruise. Maybe the right knee, if I remember correctly.
“It’s not a big issue, no twist, only a bruise at the collateral ligament. When he steps he can’t push as usual, but I am not worried about it.”
However, these reports are conflicted by the words of Ronaldo’s Portugal teammate Paciencia, who has said he has no reason to believe that the legendary forward is suffering from any fitness issues at all.
“I don’t have a medical degree, but he’s looked fine to me,” the forward told A Bola (via the Daily Mail).
“The most important thing is that he’s here because he’s the best in the world,” Paciencia continued.
Portugal are in dire need of some CR7 magic if they are going to qualify automatically to defend their European Championships in the summer.
Fernando Santos’ side are currently second in Group B – eight points behind group leaders Ukraine – and are only one point ahead of Serbia in third.
Only two victories against Lithuania and Luxembourg will be enough to absolutely guarantee their progression past the qualification stage of the tournament.