The Real Madrid superstar is fighting to recover from a thigh strain in time for the return leg at Santiago Bernabeu.
Whether Tuesday’s goalless draw with Manchester City was a good result or not for Real Madrid – both sides can be argued – the kings of Europe struggled to break down their English opposition without top-scorer Cristiano Ronaldo.
The Portuguese ace missed out on Los Blancos’ last game prior to the semi-final clash – at home to Villarreal – through injury after hurting his thigh during the 3-0 win last Wednesday. The 31-year-old made the trip to the Etihad stadium, but watched his team-mates come away with a single point from the dugout.
As a result, fans will be eager to see the three-time Ballon d’Or winner back at full fitness, as Zinedine Zidane’s boys push for yet another European crown and the Liga BBVA title. However, the French boss had bad news for the legion of supporters, admitting that there is no guarantee that Cristiano will play in the 2nd leg tie.
Speaking after the 0-0 draw, Zizou confessed that the former Man United winger “felt something” after the final pre-match training session, despite reports in the build up to Tuesday’s encounter that the 31-year-old was fit to play.
In addition, the Merengues boss was coy over welcoming Karim Benzema back to the squad in time for the Bernabeu affair after the French striker was substituted off the pitch for presumably aggravating his own thigh strain.
“I said they were 100 percent, but I did say there was still the training session to go,” said Zidane, as per Manchester Evening News.
Cristiano watches on, as Real Madrid fail to break down Man City in his absence
“Cristiano felt something after that. That is all there is to it. We didn’t want to make things worse.
“Karim, it was a little bit different, but little by little he felt a bit worse in himself. We didn’t want to gamble on his fitness. We know how important both players are for us.
“We hope they can both be in the second leg, but we have to take it day by day. We are going to try and get them fit. That is our plan. I can’t assure you of anything. I can’t tell you right now if they will be fit.”
The Spanish giants will be praying that their number 7 makes a speedy recovery, as stats show that they suffer in the absence of Cristiano, with Tuesday’s game being the 5th time in 8 Champions League games that a Ronaldo-less Real Madrid failed to win.
Luckily though, the Madrid heavyweights have a whole week to get Ronnie ready for the 2nd leg, given that he doesn’t suffer a setback on the road to recovery.