Ronaldo in real race to recover

Cristiano Ronaldo (with microphone), his Portugal team-mates and coach Fernando Santos (right) leading celebrations in Lisbon. The Real Madrid forward, who was hauled off during the Euro 2016 final due to injury, may not recover in time for his club'
Cristiano Ronaldo (with microphone), his Portugal team-mates and coach Fernando Santos (right) leading celebrations in Lisbon. The Real Madrid forward, who was hauled off during the Euro 2016 final due to injury, may not recover in time for his club's Super Cup tie against Sevilla.PHOTO: EUROPEAN PRESSPHOTO AGENCY

Portugal captain will take at least six weeks to recover from injury suffered in final

MADRID • Cristiano Ronaldo will almost certainly miss Real Madrid's first competitive game of the season, as a result of the knee injury which forced him out of Portugal's 1-0 win over France in Sunday's final of the European Championship.

A challenge from Dimitri Payet left the Portuguese forward with a twisted internal ligament in his left knee, an injury which usually requires a recovery time of between six and eight weeks.

If tests confirm the injury, Ronaldo will not recover in time for the final of the European Super Cup, a rematch of the 2014 game against Europa League winners Sevilla, to be played on Aug 9 in the Norwegian city of Trondheim.

Even if he were to recover from the injury, the fact that he is now due to begin a three-week holiday following his efforts with Portugal, means he will not start work with his Real companions until he joins their United States tour on Aug 1 in New York.

That would leave him a long way behind in his physical preparation for the new season.

No matter the state of his knee and with a long season lying ahead, Real coach Zinedine Zidane is not likely to take any risks with such an important player.

Meanwhile, Joachim Low ended speculation about his immediate future, when he confirmed yesterday that he would stay on as coach of Germany despite the disappointment of the Euro 2016 semi-final defeat by France.

Low, who took Germany to World Cup glory in Brazil in 2014, said in a statement issued by the German football federation: "We were disappointed after the semi-final, but despite our disappointment, the Mannschaft did not disappoint."

The 56-year-old said he had seen "great potential" in the squad that would serve Germany well in the qualifiers for the 2018 World Cup in Russia.

"I'm sure it will bring us still much joy, so it is my joy to continue my work with these players and continue to evolve with them in the context of the World Cup," he said.

Low, who took over the reins from Jurgen Klinsmann in 2006, has a contract that runs to 2018 but he had left some doubt about his position after Germany were eliminated from the European Championship.

"I'm sticking to what I repeatedly stressed before and during the tournament: Jogi Low is the best coach for this team," the German federation's president Reinhard Grindel said.

"He has our unrestricted confidence and we are sure of being able to play successful football with him at the helm in the future, too."

Germany will play a friendly against Finland in Moenchengladbach on Aug 31 before opening their World Cup qualifying campaign against Norway in Oslo on Sept 4.

Their qualifying group also features the Czech Republic, Northern Ireland, Azerbaijan and San Marino.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, XINHUA

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 13, 2016, with the headline 'Ronaldo in real race to recover'. Print Edition | Subscribe