Saturday 16 December 2017

Cristiano Ronaldo set to play for Real Madrid in Super Cup

Portuguese footballer Cristiano Ronaldo attends an activity at Olympic Sports Centre on July 23, 2017 in Beijing, China. (Photo by VCG)
Portuguese footballer Cristiano Ronaldo attends an activity at Olympic Sports Centre on July 23, 2017 in Beijing, China. (Photo by VCG)

Simon Peach

Cristiano Ronaldo has travelled with Real Madrid for the UEFA Super Cup against former club Manchester United, with Zinedine Zidane saying he is as fit as he was before the summer.

The 32-year-old forward was granted extended leave following his part in Portugal's Confederations Cup campaign, before appearing at a Spanish court to answer charges relating to his tax returns.

Ronaldo has denied he evaded tax or hid details of his income from the authorities - charges that led the world's best player to seriously consider a move away from the Bernabeu earlier in the summer.

However, the Portuguese appears set to stay put and, despite only just returning to training, has been included in the 24-man squad taking on former club United in Macedonia.

Ronaldo trained with his team-mates on the eve of the match and could now play a part in Skopje on Tuesday evening, just days after returning to training.

"There has been a lot of noise, a lot of things happening, but he is relaxed," Real Madrid head coach Zidane said.

"He is relaxed and what impresses me the most is that physically he is as fit as the day of the (Champions League) final. So how long is that? Two months ago already.

"Really what interests me in the long run, what interests me, him, and everyone else is that - that he is fit. As to the rest, there's not really much we can do about it.

"The fact that he is with us, this means a lot because after three days if he is with us, it is because he is ready to play.

"And then tomorrow, well, we'll see if whether he plays or not, but the important thing is he is here with us."

Ronaldo was key in June's Champions League triumph against Juventus - victory that gives them the chance to become the first side since AC Milan in 1990 to retain the Super Cup.

Standing in their way in sweltering Skopje is United, managed by former Madrid boss Jose Mourinho.

"I think there is no difference," Zidane when asked about Mourinho's side compared to the current one.

"Everyone has his own way of training, coaching and doing things, but I think there is no difference between one team and another team.

"The only thing here at Real Madrid is that you have to give 100 per cent on the field, on the pitch.

"We know the obligations each and every one of us had.

"I think Mourinho has done excellent work in Madrid and I think I am doing good work as well. I think everyone tries to do their job well.

"But that doesn't really mean anything. I've won two Champions Leagues which is fantastic, but in the long run it doesn't really mean anything.

"Someone said before that I'm a genius as a trainer, but I think that's all silliness.

"I try to do the most I can, I like to do what I like. I think every coach does more or less the same in their own style.

"In Madrid, all the coaches have fantastic players available to them. Always, that has been the history of that club. It has always been that way and it will always be that way."

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