Cristiano Ronaldo unsure on return date
Cristiano Ronaldo has revealed he may not be fit for a few more weeks as he celebrated Real Madrid’s Copa del Rey final win over Barcelona on Wednesday night.
Ronaldo, 29, watched in his suit from the Mestalla stands as Madrid beat their rivals 2-1 -- with Gareth Bale scoring a spectacular solo winner -- due to niggling knee and thigh injuries which have been the focus of much speculation in the Spanish press.
Madrid sources continue to maintain that the absence is merely precautionary and the Portugal captain will be back for next Wednesday’s Champions League semifinal first leg at home to Bayern Munich.
However, Ronaldo told the club’s official website that although he is closing in on a return to action, he cannot yet set an exact date.
“I'm really happy,” Ronaldo said. “I wanted to play and help the team but my teammates did a great job. It is the first trophy of the season but we will keep on fighting for the other two.
“I'm getting better, now I don't feel any pain. I might be back in time for next Wednesday or perhaps the second leg of our Champions League tie. Bit by bit, I'm feeling better and what I want more than anything is to be able to help the team out as soon as possible.”
Ronaldo, who on the final whistle found Lionel Messi to give him a sympathetic hug, said Carlo Ancelotti's side had played cleverly and deserved a win which was especially sweet given the opposition.
“The team was great, they knew how to dig in and deserved to win because they created more chances,” he said. “I'm very happy. The manager also deserves congratulations because he picked a good team. We have to enjoy today. It was a massive effort to get to the final and beating Barcelona makes it even more special.”
Youngster Isco had an impressive game playing in midfield, working hard and following Ancelotti's instructions to close down Barca’s playmakers, while also helping his side on the break.
The former Malaga player told AS that hard work had been key to Madrid's victory.
“It was a game which required effort and work for the team,” Isco said. “If we play like that, everyone running for each other, more trophies will arrive. This will give us confidence going into the end of the season. We hope it is not the only trophy of the year.”
Angel Di Maria, who scored the game’s opening goal following a counter-attack started by Isco and continued by Bale and Karim Benzema, said in the Mestalla mixed zone that he was looking forward to getting back to Madrid and joining fans for the traditional celebration at the Spanish capital’s Cibeles fountain.
“Things worked out really well, just like we planned,” Di Maria said. “This has been a team effort and the joy should be split evenly between everyone. This is a reward for the hard work we have been putting in all year. First we'll celebrate with the fans here and then we'll head to Madrid to keep the party going.”