Ronaldo fit to face U.S., insists Beto
Cristiano Ronaldo will be "100 percent fit" to face the United States on Sunday, according to Portugal goalkeeper Beto.
Ronaldo has reportedly been suffering from tendonosis in the joint throughout recent months, and continued playing through Real Madrid's ultimately successful Champions League campaign, while sitting out most of the Primera Division club's domestic campaign due to the knee issue and a related thigh muscle problem.
Although his knee had been bandaged in previous practices, Ronaldo started without one at Wednesday's open session, where he received a "rock star's welcome" from the fans in attendance. The reigning Ballon d'Or holder took part in some light exercises before having the knee ice-packed. He then waved and distributed some T-shirts to the 3,000 strong crowd before leaving with the rest of the squad.
Such precautions, as well as the discomfort evident during Ronaldo's performance in Monday's 4-0 opening game defeat to Germany, have led to fears the attacker could miss the clash with the U.S. in Manaus. Other reports from Spanish journalists close to the Estadio Santiago Bernabeu club have claimed that the 29-year-old needs to stop playing and rest immediately, as he is jeopardising his future career by ignoring the issue.
However Beto said that such speculation was way off the mark, and that his teammate was both physically and mentally fit to continue playing in the current competition.
"Ronaldo did not leave any training session early," the Sevilla shot-stopper said in Marca. "He has always been there with the others. Cristiano, knowing him as I do, is fully focused on what he has to do with the national team. He is in perfect physical and mental condition, committed to the group and the team. There is no reason to doubt that. He is fed up reading things and hearing things."
Asked specifically about photos showing Ronaldo with a bag of ice on his knee, Beto said such treatments were normal after a tough session and did not necessarily mean there was a major issue.
"Cristiano was treated, like many players, with ice at the end of the session," he said. "But he did not end the session early. He is 100 percent, I respect all opinions, but he is at 100 percent."
Beto also said he was happy that Portugal centre-back Pepe has received just a one-game ban, following his sending off for head-butting Thomas Muller during the Germany defeat.
"It is great news for us that he will only miss one game," he said. "Because we need him as soon as possible."