Ronaldo's ankle injury is 'minor'

Real Madrid's Cristiano Ronaldo walks on the pitch during the Spanish league football match between FC Barcelona and Real Madrid CF at the Camp Nou stadium in Barcelona, on May 6, 2018.
Real Madrid's Cristiano Ronaldo walks on the pitch during the Spanish league football match between FC Barcelona and Real Madrid CF at the Camp Nou stadium in Barcelona, on May 6, 2018. PHOTO: AFP

BARCELONA • Zinedine Zidane is optimistic Cristiano Ronaldo will be fit for the Champions League final against Liverpool, despite the Real Madrid star going off injured against Barcelona on Sunday.

Ronaldo appeared to suffer a knock to his ankle as he bundled home a 14th-minute equaliser for Real at the Nou Camp.

The Portuguese forward played on until half-time but was substituted during the interval.

Real went on to secure a 2-2 draw without Ronaldo, as Gareth Bale struck in the 72nd minute after Lionel Messi's superb individual effort put 10-man Barca ahead.

Sergi Roberto had been sent off at the end of the first period after Luis Suarez opened the scoring in a pulsating and controversial Clasico in the Spanish LaLiga.

But Ronaldo's injury will be the key talking point, with the 33-year-old now facing a fight to recover in time for the Champions League final in Kiev on May 26.

"How long he will need I cannot tell you but for him, it is a small problem," Real coach Zidane said of the Champions League top scorer, who has 15 goals this term. "We'll see tomorrow after the tests, what we have to do is see the damage done to the ankle. He is a little worried because his ankle is a bit swollen but he said it was minor."

Ronaldo's injury, coupled with Barcelona avoiding defeat, meant it was the Catalans who felt more satisfied after the match.

Ernesto Valverde's men are now three matches away from becoming the first team to finish a 38-match LaLiga season unbeaten.

"I think we are the only unbeaten team in Europe in the big leagues and that is something that pushes us," he said.

Bale was lucky to be on the pitch after he stabbed his studs into the back of Samuel Umtiti's calf, moments before Roberto was sent off for lashing out at Marcelo.

It was one of a number of questionable decisions from referee Alejandro Jose Hernandez Hernandez.

As well as Bale's reckless challenge, Suarez fouled Raphael Varane in the build-up to Messi's goal while Real should have had a late penalty after Marcelo was brought down by Jordi Alba.

The constant confrontations and meaty challenges led to Hernandez dishing out eight yellow cards, five to Real. "Next year it will change with VAR," Zidane said, referring to the video assistant referee.

"Then we will see what a match like that will look like."

Real captain Sergio Ramos also accused Messi of putting pressure on the referee at half-time.

"Messi put him under a bit of pressure in the tunnel, maybe he caused him to referee in the second half in a different way," he said.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 08, 2018, with the headline 'Ronaldo's ankle injury is 'minor''. Print Edition | Subscribe