Cristiano Ronaldo has missed another training session with a potential calf injury ahead of Saturday’s El Clasico clash with Barcelona at the Bernabeu. Madridistas are hopeful that Ronaldo’s absence from team training is precautionary, given his importance to Real Madrid’s chances of winning the pivotal showdown. Ronaldo sustained a knock during the first half of Saturday’s 1-0 Club World Cup win over Gremio in Abu Dhabi but played through the pain and scored the deciding goal to give Los Blancos the victory.
“I felt an issue developing in my calf in the second half, but I kept playing.”
The Portuguese forward sat out Tuesday’s training session at Valdebebas and was again missing for Wednesday’s morning exercise. There has been no official word from Real Madrid on the matter, either to update the progress of the calf problem or report any other injury. There could be absolutely nothing in it but the Barcelona camp will be following the story closely. One theory being bandied about is that Real are playing mind games with Barca and that CR7 is absolutely fine.
Zinedine Zidane put the players through their paces in a high-intensity workout on Wednesday. The first-team regulars were joined by academy players Alvaro Tejero, Moha and Diego Altube. Karim Benzema who had missed Tuesday’s session was also present and took part in a series of pressing and passing drills before the group contested a number of small-sided matches on miniature pitches.
Luka Modric was not with the group but did train on his own, as he builds up his fitness ahead of a return to action. Gareth Bale is good to go following his return to action at the Club World Cup. The Welshman featured in both games in Abu Dhabi and is available for selection against Barcelona, which could be his first start since September.