Jun 18, 2014, 10:35 PM EDT
Cristiano Ronaldo is 100% fit to play against the United States this Sunday, Portugal back-up goalkeeper Beto has told reporters.
Beto, who will assume the starting role in goal against the US after first choice netminder Rui Patricio suffered a thigh tear in the 4-0 loss to Germany, cast aside the speculation surrounding Ronaldo’s fitness while also refuting the notion that the winger left training early.
Ronaldo didn’t leave (training) early. He finished his training at the same time as the rest of the players. Cristiano is 100 percent fit to play. Every match he starts to play, it’s because he’s fit to play….
He loves football but his body is the most important thing for him, to be fit, to be healthy so if he starts the match it’s because he’s ready, he’s fit.
The soundbite was delivered after reports emerged earlier in the day that Portuguese orthopedic surgeon, Jose Carlos Noronha, had advised Ronaldo to take two months off to fully repair his knee.
“Let your knee rest, or your future is in danger,” Dr. Noronha told the Ballon D’Or winner, to which he reportedly responded, “I’m the one that says whether I’m playing or not.”
Despite Beto’s words to the alternative there’s an overwhelming amount of evidence – photos of the winger in pain while getting stretched by training staff, icing his knee and limping around – that suggest Ronaldo is not 100% fit.
The goalkeepers comments, therefore, should not be taken literally but rather as a backing for Ronaldo’s resilient strength of character to push through injury. With Portugal’s hopes of advancing still very much alive and contingent on a victory in Sunday’s match against Manaus, the smart money still very much remains on Ronaldo playing though the pain.
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