Cristiano Ronaldo said he had proven his fitness to doubters apparently within his own club after he returned from injury to play a key role in Real Madrid’s 1-0 Champions League semifinal first leg win over Bayern Munich at the Estadio Santiago Bernabeu on Wednesday evening.
Ronaldo was back in Madrid’s starting lineup after three weeks on the sidelines with knee and thigh muscle problems, the exact nature of which has been unclear, amid media reports of disagreements between the club’s medical staff and the players’ own camp over the diagnosis and treatment of the injuries.
The 29-year-old appeared to play within himself during his 73 minutes on the pitch, completing just 10 passes and rarely bursting into a sprint, but still managing five shots -- four on target -- and being instrumental in setting up the game’s only goal for Karim Benzema.
Madrid coach Carlo Ancelotti told his post-game news conference that it had been decided with the Portugal captain beforehand not to play the full 90 minutes as he was “at 50 percent”.
Just as Ancelotti was speaking Ronaldo, 29, told reporters elsewhere in the Bernabeu press area that he had proven he was now fully fit again, while appearing clearly irked that some unknown persons had not shown full faith in him.
“There was some fear, which is normal as it was my first game after three weeks,” he said. “I had confidence, but some people did not want me to play. But I played and showed I was fine, that nothing happened. They were a bit afraid, but I am perfectly okay now. I did not feel anything out there, I felt good.”
Pressed to reveal who he was so annoyed with, Ronaldo would not give any further details.
“That is something else, we should just be happy now,” he said. “Because we played a good game and we have a little advantage. I did not force anything. I felt fine, very good. I am not angry with anyone. It has passed. The important thing is that Cristiano is back now to try and help Real Madrid to make the final that we all hope for. 1-0 in a semifinal is a good result. We have a good advantage and we know if we score there it gets difficult for them. We go there confident. My opinion is that we can win there and go through.”
Appearing in the mixed-zone a few minutes later Madrid defender Sergio Ramos was asked if he could throw any light on what his teammate had earlier hinted at.
Ramos preferred to stress how impressed he had been with the effort which a not 100 percent Ronaldo had put in for the side.
“It is not for me to comment on that, that is his business,” Ramos said. “We need to praise what he has done today -- to force it despite not being fully fit. He was not at his usual level, that we are used to seeing, but he put his soul into it, and gave his all for the team.”