Real Madrid coach Carlo Ancelotti has said that Cristiano Ronaldo is over the worst of his recent injury problems and is ready to return for the European champions clash against Atletico Madrid on Saturday.
The World Player of the Year missed Real’s 4-2 defeat to Real Sociedad two weeks ago, as well as Portugal’s embarrassing 1-0 loss at home to Albania on Monday due to a hamstring problem, but has trained all week in Madrid ahead of a seventh meeting with La Liga champions Atletico this year.
“Cristiano is in top shape. He has trained very well this week and I think he is in optimal condition,” Ancelotti said on Friday.
And the Italian also rejected suggestions Ronaldo had suffered a chronic knee problem by continuing to play despite suffering from patellar tendinosis in his left knee last season.
“It is clear that Cristiano plays when he isn’t tired or there is no risk of him injuring himself. That is what we did last season and I don’t think he played too much last year, he only played when there was no risk of being injured.
“At the end of the season he had some problems but I think his overall performance was very good because he scored a lot of goals. Cristiano doesn’t have a chronic injury. He had a problem last year with his patellar tendon that has completely recovered.”
Real’s ability to compete physically will be put to the test once more by Atletico. Diego Simeone’s men used their superiority in the air to good effect in gaining some measure of revenge for their UEFA Champions League final defeat with victory in the Spanish Super Cup against Real last month.
However, Ancelotti played down suggestions that Atletico had been overly aggressive in their six previous meetings in 2014. “Atletico aren’t a violent team, they are intense and aggressive. Football is a man’s game,” he said.
“We have to impose our style on the pitch. With quality, intensity and concentration, which is what we didn’t do in the last match at Anoeta.”