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May 13, 2014

Bento confident Ronaldo will be fit

Portugal coach Paulo Bento says he is confident Cristiano Ronaldo will be fully fit to play at the World Cup, despite the niggling injury concerns which continue to hamper the Real Madrid forward.

Cristiano Ronaldo has been struggling lately and Carlo Ancelotti may rest him with the Champions League final in mind.
Cristiano Ronaldo has been struggling lately and Carlo Ancelotti may rest him with the Champions League final in mind.

Train: Title bid over
Curtis: Two heroes

Ronaldo has been troubled by hamstring and knee problems through recent weeks, and completed just two of Madrid's last nine games in all competitions. He most recently asked to be substituted just seven minutes into Madrid's 1-1 La Liga draw with Real Valladolid on May 7, with the club not issuing an exact medical statement outlining his condition but letting it be known the 29-year-old was suffering from "muscular fatigue" in his left thigh.

After Ronaldo missed Saturday's 2-0 Liga defeat at Celta Vigo, Blancos coach Carlo Ancelotti again maintained the absence was "precautionary" while stating he was sure the galactico would start the Champions League final against Atletico Madrid in Lisbon.

Bento told news agency DPA, in quotes picked up by Marca, that he was aware that the Portugal captain's fitness might need to be "managed" when the World Cup begins next month.

"We have faith that [Ronaldo] will arrive fine at the tournament," Bento said. "At this moment you must know what is happening and look at the condition in which he will arrive. Then we will try and manage his condition in best way possible."

Widespread media reports in the Spanish capital from both AS and Marca have claimed that Ronaldo is keen to start Madrid's final La Liga game of the campaign -- at home to Espanyol on Saturday -- as he needs one goal to be the sole winner of this season's European Golden Boot award.

The former Manchester United player is currently on 31 league goals, the same total as Liverpool's Luis Suarez, while Barcelona's Lionel Messi sits third on 28, with the Argentine having a chance to increase that figure in Saturday's title deciding clash with Atletico Madrid at the Camp Nou.

Asked if he had contacted Madrid to ask the club to rest Ronaldo to avoid any further complications ahead of the World Cup, Bento said he had not.

"The national coach does not get involved in the club's business," he said. "I like all my players to play, another thing is if they are fit to do so or not."

Madrid also have fitness worries over Gareth Bale, who has missed their last two Liga games with "a bang," and Karim Benzema, who had tests on Monday on a knee problem. Benzema, is said to have played through pain in recent games while Ronaldo and Bale were rested, and could miss the Espanyol match but is not a doubt for the Champions League showpiece against Atletico a week later.

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