Portugal don’t begin World Cup play until Monday, and that may be the best possible bit of news for the side since it arrived in Brazil. That’s because on Thursday, star striker and FIFA Ballon d’Or winner, Cristiano Ronaldo was seen limping off the practice pitch.
According to reports, Ronaldo practiced for 15-20 minutes before limping off. He was also photographed with an ice pack on his left knee.
— gabrielle amado (@gabbyamado) June 12, 2014
Portugal midfielder João Moutinho tried to play off the ice and the walk-off by Ronaldo as something that is ordinary.
“Ever since he started to train with us he has been 100% like the rest of us,” Moutinho told The Guardian. “Everything is fine with him but there is some caution, not only with him. Today many other players were using ice as well. There is nothing to worry about. The ice is normal after training.”
While icing knees isn’t abnormal, a player appearing to be in agony and walking off the field after just a few minutes of training is anything but ordinary. As of Friday morning, not much more was knowns about Ronaldo’s condition and you’d have to expect the Portugal side will look to keep any news as close to the vest as possible.
With a matchup against Group G favorite Germany up first for the Portuguese, the news of a possible injury to Ronaldo couldn’t come at a worst time though.
Portugal love playing an attacking 4-3-3 formation, but without Ronaldo in the lineup it could force manager Paulo Bento to look at his formation. Options off the bench at forward are likely to be Hugo Almeida (Besiktas) or Varela (FC Porto). However, it may be wiser to go 4-4-2 and put on a midfielder.
As one can see, if Ronaldo is a no-go for the match against Germany it is a massive blow to the Portuguese’s chances and it could put them on the back foot in the so-called “Group of Death.”
You can watch Germany vs Portugal live on ESPN if you’re in the United States and on ITV 1 in the United Kingdom. The match kicks off at 13:00 (local time) in Salvador, Brazil.