Ronaldo allays fears about hamstring injury in 1-1 draw

Cristiano Ronaldo
Cristiano Ronaldo

LISBON • Cristiano Ronaldo has played down the hamstring injury he suffered during Portugal's 1-1 Euro 2020 qualifying draw with Serbia, which could leave him facing a fitness race for the quarter-finals of the Champions League.

The star forward was forced off in the first half as his team stumbled to their second straight draw in Group B to leave them in third spot behind Ukraine and Luxembourg.

Danilo Pereira equalised for the home team after Dusan Tadic had opened the scoring for the visitors.

However, the 34-year-old sought to allay fears he will not be able to travel to Amsterdam, where Juventus will play the first leg of their quarter-final tie against Ajax on April 10.

The seven-time defending Italian champions smashed their transfer record to sign Ronaldo from Real Madrid in a €100 million (S$152.7 million) move last summer, with the aim of ending their 23-year European Cup drought.

  • Weeks Cristiano Ronaldo has given himself to return from his hamstring trouble.

Telling reporters he would "know more in 24 or 48 hours", the Portugal captain said: "I'm not worried, I know my body. It happens, it's football. If you go out in the rain, you get wet... I'm calm, I'll be back in one or two weeks."

Portugal struggled to breach Serbia's defence in his absence, although the hosts should have been awarded a penalty in the second half after defender Antonio Rukavina had handled the ball from Andre Silva's header.

Post-game, Ronaldo and coach Fernando Santos both said Polish referee Szymon Marciniak, who initially pointed to the spot, had apologised for overturning the decision.

Ronaldo said: "It was very clear, the referee should have given it. The linesman was 40 metres away, so it seems a bit strange."

Santos added: "We saw the incident in the dressing room afterwards, and neither we nor he (Marciniak) had any doubt, it was a penalty."

He also told Portuguese TV channel RTP: "He had no doubt, but that honesty does not help me. He gave a penalty... no one 40 metres away can make the decision it was not, especially when the referee saw it clearly.

"What will I do with the excuse? At least he called me to analyse. The assistant was there and I said that it was his fault."

The Video Assistant Referee technology is not used in the Euro 2020 qualifiers.

REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 27, 2019, with the headline 'Ronaldo allays fears about hamstring injury in 1-1 draw'. Print Edition | Subscribe