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Portugal’s superstar was the only thing on the minds of the press today at the national side’s training camp, where Cristiano Ronaldo did make an appearance but not as part of the main group.
The trailblazing Real Madrid man took things very gently, jogging on a separate field to the main training session. The goal machine has been ruled out of Portugal’s 2 upcoming friendlies, against Mexico on Friday and the Republic of Ireland on Tuesday. Both of these World Cup warm-up games will take place in the US, the first at Gilette Stadium, home of the NFL’s New England Patriots and the MLS’s New England Revolution, in Foxborough, Massachusetts and the second at the MetLife Stadium in New Jersey, shared home of NFL’s 2 New York teams, the Jets and the Giants, and the host of this year’s Superbowl.
After a thoroughly unconvincing goalless draw with Greece last weekend, the Portuguese will be very eager for the spark brought to the team by a player of the excitement and intensity of Ronaldo.
Paulo Bento’s team is far from a one-man-army but the quality and attacking threat that Ronaldo gives to the team is something they will desperately need in a difficult group that includes Germany, USA and Ghana. The 29-year-old has scored 11 of their last 21 goals in their last 10 games, including 2 in the 5-1 demolition of Cameroon and a hat-trick to see them past Sweden in the World Cup qualification play-off second leg.
Ronaldo pushed on through injury at the end of a long season, in which he scored 51 goals, determined to play in the Champions League final and lift the trophy in Madrid’s La Decima victory.
Nothing has been set in stone as yet but will continue to rest and train lightly for now as they continue to assess him day-by-day in the lead up to their first World Cup game against power-houses Germany on the 16th. The World Cup will certainly be less of a spectacle without one of the World’s greatest players. Soccerlens will continue to keep you up to date on his progress.
Can Portugal still make it out of their group without Ronaldo in the starting line-up?