Real Madrid attacker Cristiano Ronaldo has been cleared to lineup against Manchester City in Wednesday’s Champions League semifinal second leg clash at the Santiago Bernabeu. Ronaldo was on the sidelines last week when his team were held to a 0-0 draw at the Etihad Stadium in Manchester.
Ronaldo has been nursing a thigh injury that’s seen him miss Real’s last three games. However, the Portuguese superstar took full part in training on Tuesday and Real Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane confirmed he was ready for City.
“Cristiano is okay. He is 100 percent. He trained this morning and he will be there tomorrow,” said Zidane to the Guardian.
Real will still be without Ronaldo’s striker partner, Karim Benzema, who is dealing with a hamstring injury. Combative midfielder, Casimero is also set to miss Wednesday’s match due to what’s been described as a “swelling.”
In the opposing dugout, Man City manager Manuel Pellegrini may have to make due without the influential midfield duo of David Silva and Yaya Toure, both of whom have been recently sidelined by injuries. While Toure made the trip from Manchester to Madrid, there is no word on whether the Ivorian will actually be fit to start Wednesday. Silva meanwhile, has reportedly been left behind.
Despite holding Madrid scoreless last week, City’s inability to get a goal at home was seen as a missed opportunity. Now Pellegrini’s men face the daunting task of going to the Bernabeu and having to play for a win. Keeping a Ronaldo-less Madrid off the score sheet is one thing, but taking on Real Madrid on their home pitch with a fully fit Ronaldo is an entirely different matter.
Especially considering that Real Madrid have yet concede a single goal at home in the Champions League this season.
Pellegrini, who spent a single season in charge at Real Madrid, is well aware of the difference Ronaldo is capable of making.
“It would be absurd to deny that Madrid without Cristiano are not the same as Madrid with him,” said Pellegrini. “For the number of goals, the influence of Cristiano in these last six years.”
Real Madrid will head into Wednesday’s delicately balanced fixture in search of an unprecedented 11th European title. For Man City, this is uncharted territory, with the club into the semifinals of Europe’s elite club competition for the first time in their history.