Cristiano Ronaldo’s battle against injury has become more serious than first thought.
The Portuguese captain is currently training on his own and is now suffering from tendinitis in his left leg to go along with the thigh injury he also suffered following the UEFA Champions League final at the end of the domestic campaign in Spain.
Ronaldo is wounded and is in a race against time to be fit for Portugal’s World Cup opener against Germany on June 16. That means against the USA in the second group game on June 22, he could potentially not be 100 percent fit or not fit enough to play at all.
The reigning FIFA world player of the year was hampered by leg injuries late in the season and played through the pain to help Real Madrid win the UCL. However that could come at a huge price as one of the top talents on show in Brazil will be battling against persistent issues after a grueling season.
MORE: Messi ranked soccer’s MVP, twice as valuable as Ronaldo
At the moment Portugal are in the United States preparing for the World Cup, it plays Mexico on Friday and Ireland next week in friendlies before flying down to Brazil. If Ronaldo fails to play in either of those warm up games, huge questions will remain over his fitness. When you look around the Portuguese squad, Ronaldo is the main man and if you stop him, you will thwart Portugal’s offense.
However these lingering injuries are good news for the U.S. as they will hope the 28-year-old has an off-day and these problems impact his play in their Group G encounter in Manaus.
The severity of his tendinitis and other muscle injuries is yet to be fully discovered but his former Manchester United teammate and current Portuguese national team winger Nani isn’t too worried about Ronaldo’s fitness.
“I don’t believe the situation with Ronaldo is worrying,” Nani said. “He’s going well, and he is relaxed about it. Things are going the right way. We hope that Cristiano is in good enough shape to play and to help the team.”
While Portugal holds its breath and hopes Ronaldo is fit and raring to go from June 16 onwards, fans of the U.S. national team are hoping for the complete opposite.
Already facing some uncertainty with a depleted roster, Argentina could face a significantly greater challenge.
[ MORE: Aguero left out of Argentina starting XI vs. Bolivia ]
Barcelona star Lionel Messi could face suspension after reportedly verbally abusing linesman Marcelo Van Gasse during the second half of Thursday’s 1-0 win over Chile.
Messi was reported to CONMEBOL for yelling, “F*** off, your mother’s c***” at Van Gasse and refused to shake the official’s hand at the end of the match.
The officiating crew from the match didn’t initially include Messi’s rant in the post-match report, however, it was added on Monday and submitted to CONMEBOL.
The South American federation must now decide if and when it will punish Messi for his reported actions, and there is the potential that the world-class attacker could be suspended for Tuesday’s clash against Bolivia if the federation acts quickly.
There are several other scenarios though for CONMEBOL to action, including disregarding Messi’s verbal assault.
La Albiceleste currently sit third in World Cup qualifying on 22 points.
It’s only been one competitive match since Bruce Arena regained control of the U.S. Men’s National Team and there’s already been a noticeable difference in form.
[ MORE: Three keys for the USMNT ahead of Panama clash ]
The former LA Galaxy manager wouldn’t have you believe that though following Friday night’s convincing 6-0 victory over Honduras in CONCACAF World Cup qualifying.
“It’s nothing I can write a book on,” Arena said about his team’s turnaround in form against Honduras. “You have a sense of your group, and you go about doing your business. There’s no secret formulas to this stuff. Work together, take ownership in what you’re doing, treat them like responsible professional athletes, and you get on with your business.
He added, “They want to be successful. They want to play in a World Cup. Is that a recipe for success? I don’t know. I’m sure Honduras wants to play in a World Cup too.”
Arena, who took over for Jurgen Klinsmann following the U.S.’ collapse during the first two matches of the Hexagonal, is unbeaten in his first three games in charge since getting his job back with the Stars and Stripes.
Although there has been a considerable turnaround in the way the USMNT has performed in the first three matches of 2017, Arena wouldn’t stoop to comparing his style to that of Klinsmann.
“I’m not doing anything differently,” he said. “I’m not taking a survey [of the players]. I know it’s different. We lose tomorrow, there will be articles written that, ‘This a—— is letting these guys run loose.'”
“I have spent no time on the past. There’s nothing I can do about it. I kind of have a sense about things, but there’s no point in me spending time investigating what went on in the past. The idea was to get it going the right way from the start.”
Arena’s next test with the U.S. will be on Tuesday when the Yanks travel to Panama City to take on Panama.
The U.S. Men’s National Team is always looking for more Christian Pulisic-like players, and another star-in-the-making could be on his way to Old Trafford.
[ MORE: Three keys for USMNT ahead of Panama clash ]
American teenager Will Vint is reportedly being pursued by Premier League giants Manchester United after previously having trialed with Fulham and Everton.
Vint, the 15-year-old son Everton academy director Peter Vint, has reportedly impressed the Red Devils while on trial as of late. Additionally, the teen’s Instagram page describes him as a “Footballer at Manchester United.”
The number of Americans in England’s top flight have dwindled down over recent years, however, USMNT mainstays like Geoff Cameron and Brad Guzan (moving to Atlanta United) still reside in the PL.
SAO PAULO (AP) Brazilian club Chapecoense will play Colombia’s Atletico Nacional on April 4 in what will be an emotional home match.
[ MORE: Aguero left out of Argentina XI to face Bolivia ]
In November, 19 members of the Brazilian team died in an air crash outside Medellin as they travelled to play Nacional in the first leg of the Copa Sudamericana final. Out of 77 passengers, 71 died in the incident, including players, journalists, and club officials.
Chapecoense says they will play at 22,000-seat Arena Conda in southern Brazil in the first leg of the Recopa Sudamericana.
The tragedy made Atletico Nacional pronounce Chapecoense as champions, and the South American confederation agreed.
The Recopa Sudamericana is between the champions of the Copa Sudamericana and the Copa Libertadores.