Cristiano Ronaldo has revealed he’s been playing with a knee injury in recent weeks.
The Juventus and Portugal star was criticized for leaving Juventus’ win against AC Milan on Nov. 10 early, as he was substituted in the second half and then left the stadium before the end of the game.
Speaking to reporters after he scored his 99th international goal for Portugal in a 2-0 win against Luxembourg which sealed their qualification for EURO 2020, Ronaldo explained that there was no drama between himself and Juve boss Maurizio Sarri.
“There was no controversy. You [the media] want controversies. You obviously know that I don’t like to be substitute, but I have been playing with some limitations. I tried to help Juventus even playing injured. Nobody likes to be substituted, but I understand the substitutions because I wasn’t fit,” Ronaldo said.
“As well as in the last two games for Portugal, I wasn’t 100 per cent. When it’s needed to sacrifice myself for my club and the national team, I do full of pride. As you know, Inter are putting some pressure on Juventus. We are two points ahead and we can’t slip up. If we draw or lose, they will go ahead of us. So I sacrificed myself for the team. Here in the national team, you know that in case we had lost one of these last two matches, we could be out [of automatic qualification]. As you know,
Ronaldo added that he has never had big injuries throughout his career and that his current problem is “a minor injury, a minor pain” which stops him from playing at 100 percent.
This is likely to be a reoccurring theme for Ronaldo, aged 34, in the coming years.
His style of play is so physically demanding and dependent on him being 100 percent fit that the stress he has put his body under over the past 15-20 years was certain to catch up with him.
Ronaldo’s less than delighted reaction at being subbed for the second game running for Juve sparked talk of unrest, but instead it was a knee issue.
His reaction didn’t help matters, but now we know the full story and that Sarri’s comments about Ronaldo carrying an injury was correct.