Cristiano Ronaldo is a serious doubt for Real Madrid’s Champions League quarterfinal second leg at Borussia Dortmund on Tuesday, after limping out of training just minutes after Carlo Ancelotti had suggested the Portuguese would not play in the game unless he was 100 percent fit.
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Ronaldo was rested for last Saturday’s 4-0 La Liga win at Real Sociedad, but travelled with the squad to Germany on Monday, having spent the weekend in Madrid undergoing a specific recovery programme overseen by his club's medical staff.
The Los Blancos coach told his pre-game news conference that if the Champions League’s current top scorer would have a chance to prove his fitness in Monday evening's training session at the Westfalenstadion, but reporters at the session immediately afterwards saw the player leave the pitch early showing clear signs of discomfort.
"Ronaldo has had some treatment and trained at low intensity," Ancelotti had said. "We will decide after today’s training, and see whether he is okay or feels uncomfortable. If he is at 100 percent he will play, if not he will not."
According to press reports, Ronaldo played through the pain in Madrid’s recent defeats to Barcelona and Sevilla due to a tendonitis issue in his left knee, but Ancelotti rejected a suggestion that any risks had been taken with the player’s fitness.
"All the games that Ronaldo played, he played as he was okay," he said. "We have never taken risks with him or any other player. Cristiano and I think the same -- he should always play [when he is fit], but when he does not feel right he cannot play. He is a very good professional, knows his body very well. When he does not feel right he says it, without any problem, as happened for the game against Real Sociedad."
An away goal for Madrid on Tuesday will mean Dortmund need five to progress [more than they managed even in last season’s 4-1 semifinal first leg between the clubs], but Ancelotti said there was no chance of him playing a more defensive side than usual.
"We will not change the system, we need to play the same," he said. "They have 90 minutes to score four goals. We have 90 minutes to score one. The earlier we score the easier for us. The idea we will try to put out on the pitch is the same as always. We will play our way -- attacking, as we have a lot of potential in attack. We will look to attack and defend together."
Fabio Coentrao and Angel Di Maria should return to Madrid’s starting line-up, while one of Isco and Asier Illarramendi will keep their place should Ronaldo not come back in. Gareth Bale is fine to continue despite having two stitches in a cut knee after Saturday’s game, Ancelotti said.
"Bale had a bang to his knee and has recovered well," he said. "He has no problem to play tomorrow."