Cristiano Ronaldo gets all clear to return for Real Madrid’s crucial Champions League semi-final showdown with Manchester City
- Real Madrid host Manchester City in Champions League semi-final return
- The tie is finally balanced following the goalless draw at Etihad in first leg
- Star player Cristiano ronaldo appears to have recovered from injury
- Portugal star insists his place in football history is already guaranteed
- Striker Karim Benzema remains doubtful after suffering a knee injury
Real Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane says Cristiano Ronaldo will be fit for Wednesday’s Champions League semi-final against Manchester City at the Bernabeu.
Ronaldo missed last week’s 0-0 draw between the teams in Manchester but his coach says he has recovered.
‘He is okay,’ said Zidane at his lunchtime press conference at Real’s training ground after watching the Portuguese take part in a high-spirited session alongside the likes of Gareth Bale, James Rodriguez and Marcelo.
Cristiano Ronaldo (left) and close friend Marcelo mess about during a training session at Valdebebas
The Portugal superstar and Gareth Bale (right) appeared in high spirits during Tuesday’s session
Bale, who scored the winner against Real Sociedad at the weekend, will be full of confidence against City
Ronaldo and Marcelo pull joke gestures while taking part in their warm-up exercises
James Rodriguez (left) greets Bale as Real prepare for Wednesday’s Champions League semi-final return
CRISTIANO RONALDO CHAMPIONS LEAGUE STATS 2015/16
Minutes played: 899mins
‘He has recovered and he is 100 per cent.
‘He has worked hard and looked after himself and he will be there.
‘We are different when he plays and he is ready.’
Zidane suggested before last week’s game that Ronaldo would play and he didn’t. But this time it seems as though he means it.
Centre forward Karim Benzema will be missing against Manuel Pellegrini’s team, though.
Meanwhile former France forward Zidane paid tribute to new Barclays Premier League champions Leicester.
He said: ‘It’s not a miracle. They deserve it.
‘Ranieri and his players have had a fantastic season.
Real Madrid players watch on as Ronaldo trains without any problem after a short spell on the sidelines
Real Madrid captain Sergio Ramos (left) and coach Zinedine Zidane also shared in the smiles
Zidane speaks with assistant coach Hamidou Msaidie (left) as they plot a way past Manchester City
Although Ronaldo and Bale trained, there was no sign of their ‘BBC’ strike partner Karim Benzema
Whether Real overcome City to reach the final in their bid for an unprecedented 11th European Cup, Ronaldo – who is the leading goalscorer in Champions League history – is convinced that he has already achieved enough during his career to stake his place among the elite in the annals of football history.
Speaking to UEFA.com, Ronaldo said: ‘I always felt that I was a special player, ever since I was starting out at Sporting. I felt that sooner or later I would be a top-level professional. I never thought it would come so fast, but I was preparing myself because, like I said, the talent was there.
Ronaldo (right) already believes he has done enough ion his career to be remembered among legends
Former Tottenham playmaker Luka Modric (right) gives James some advice during the training session
Keylor Navas (left) and Ronaldo will be players to watch at either end of the Bernabeu pitch
‘I’ve always worked hard, believed in my potential – in the academy at Sporting, at Manchester United and at Real Madrid as well – and I’ve developed more and more as a player, as a person, as a human being. I’ve enjoyed my work.
‘I don’t doubt that I will go down in footballing history. Whether people like it or not, the numbers speak for themselves.
‘I will be up there with the rest. Some like it more, some like it less, but I have no doubt that I’m already in the history of football,’ he added.
Meanwhile in Manchester, City players trained during what looked like colder conditions judging by the hats
Source: Daily Mail