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Jun 25, 2014

Cristiano Ronaldo fitness 'improving'

John Brenkus and the Sport Science team break down the picture-perfect cross by Portugal's Cristiano Ronaldo to Silvestre Varela, who scored the late goal in the 2-2 draw against the United States.

Cristiano Ronaldo may not be 100 percent fit but is in good enough shape to play in Thursday's make-or-break World Cup Group G game against Ghana, Portugal's national team doctor has said.

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Real Madrid attacker Ronaldo has been suffering from a tendinitis issue in his left knee for at least three months, playing through the pain in the most important games for club and country.

The 2013 Ballon d'Or winner was hampered by the injury during Portugal's first two games of, barely making an impact during the opening 4-0 loss to Germany but providing a moment of quality in setting up the late equaliser in the 2-2 draw with the U.S.

The issue is reportedly a major worry at the Bernabeu, with reporters close to Real Madrid suggesting there are fears that Ronaldo risks making the problem worse by refusing to stop and rest -- something the player has denied.

Portugal's team doctor Henrique Jones has told AS the injury is not as bad as it was during the club season, and that there is no reason for the captain not to keep playing for his country.

"[Ronaldo] is better than when he joined up with the national team," Jones said. "He is training as he has never trained at Madrid. In medical terms I do not know if he is at 100 percent, but clinically Cristiano is in condition to play. He just has a small discomfort from the tendinitis which he has been suffering from."

Thursday's Ghana game in Brasilia is likely to be the last outing for Ronaldo and his teammates at this World Cup.

To progress to the round of 16, Portugal need to win the game by a large margin and hope the other final group clash between Germany and the USA does not end in a draw.

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