Cristiano Ronaldo

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Cristiano Ronaldo reveals he’s playing with an injury

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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.

Defending champs Portugal qualify for EURO 2020

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Defending European champions Portugal booked their place at the 2020 European Championship with a 2-0 victory away to Luxembourg on Sunday, the final day of qualification.

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Portugal (17 points) finishes second in Group B behind Ukraine (20), three points ahead of third-place Serbia which will now go the qualification playoffs route in March.

Bruno Fernandes scored Sunday’s winner in the 39th minute, followed by a late insurance goal from Cristiano Ronaldo in the 86th.

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As things stand, Portugal, who won the European title in 2016 and followed it up with the inaugural UEFA Nations League crown earlier this year, will be placed into Pot 3, alongside Russia, Switzerland, Turkey, Austria and Sweden. Ukraine, meanwhile, is assured of being seeded in Pot 1.

Euro 2020 Roundup: Ronaldo scores hat-trick, France, Turkey qualify

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The final two rounds of Euro 2020 qualification got underway on Thursday with plenty of great goals on display. Four nations qualified directly into the tournament as well, as we get closer to the final list of 24 teams.


Portugal rout Lithuania

While the result wasn’t a surprise, it was still an impressive performance from the defending European champions.

Portugal, behind a Cristiano Ronaldo hat-trick, thrashed Lithuania, 6-0, at the Estadio Algarve. That included this terrific strike into the corner from outside the box, bringing the crowd to their feet.

It was Ronaldo’s ninth hat-trick for Portugal, which takes him to 98 goals overall along with 12 goals for Portugal in this calendar year, an incredible strike rate. Pizzi, Goncalo Paciencia and Bernardo Silva all scored as well. With a win at Luxembourg in three days, Portugal can assure qualification back to the European Championships, where it can defend its crown.


France comes back to beat Moldova

It’s safe to say that Les Bleus fans would gladly have taken a 2-1 result over Moldova in Euro 2020 qualifying, but the journey to get there was definitely out of the ordinary.

Moldova’s Vadim Rata put the visitors up 1-0 in the 9th minute with a goal-mouth scramble after a failed clearance from by Clement Lenglet, putting France under even more pressure. France brought wave and wave of attack towards the Moldova goal, but it was a controversial goal, credited to Raphael Varane, which brought France level.

In the 41st minute, as Olivier Giroud went for a ball, it appeared Giroud motioned to control the ball with his arm, only to move it out of his way at the last second, enabling Varane to head home. Giroud made amends for missing many chances throughout the match with a penalty kick goal in the 79th minute, earned by left back Lucas Digne.

With the win, France qualified for the 2020 Euros. Also qualifying on Thursday was Turkey, England, and the Czech Republic.

Here’s a look at the rest of Thursday’s Euro 2020 qualification results.

Qualification Group A

England 7-0 Montenegro
Czech Republic 2-1 Kosovo

Qualification Group B

Portugal 6-0 Lithuania
Serbia 3-2 Luxembourg

Qualification Group H

Turkey 0-0 Iceland
Albania 2-2 Andorra
France 2-1 Moldova

Cristiano Ronaldo faces meeting with Juve admin, apology to teammates

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Juventus players expect an apology from Cristiano Ronaldo, who left the stadium Sunday after being subbed out of Juventus’ 1-0 defeat of AC Milan, his second-straight match as a tactical departure.

Ronaldo dodged a fine for the offense — which is great, how could he ever afford something like that? — but will also have to have a conversation with Juve administrators Fabio Paratici and Pavel Nedved.

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The striker is in a run of below average performances for mortals, well-below average for a player of his acumen.ips

Maurizio Sarri took him off after a one-shot, 75 percent passing performance against AC Milan, and substitute Paulo Dybala scored the match-winner. Sarri shrugged off Ronaldo’s harsh words upon exit, as one might expect,

His absence from the team room after the game did not sit well with the serial Serie A champs, and Sky Sports pundit Fabio Capello had some stinging words for CR7.

“The fact that he didn’t sit on the bench and said bad words to Sarri is not a pretty picture,” he told Sky Sports Italia. “The truth is that Ronaldo has not dribbled past an opponent for three years. I remember it when he went past players and left them there. Now it doesn’t happen anymore, while Douglas Costa and [Paulo] Dybala do it.”

We mean, there’s a real mic drop in there, but he kept going. Full marks, Fabio. Way to stay to the end, even if, uh, that’s not correct (and this particular keyboard puncher is not a Ronaldo apologist in the slightest. Grimy).

Ronaldo is still rated amongst the top performers in Serie A and it’s smart to resist the urge to say the 34-year-old is finished. And while we’d love to jinx him back into form, Capello might want to check Ronaldo’s dribble numbers. Maybe Serie A is a step down from La Liga, but he’s doing it more often.

Sarri shrugs off potential Ronaldo rift at Juventus

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Cristiano Ronaldo may be furious with Juventus manager Maurizio Sarri, but the apparent anger is definitely not mutual.

The Portuguese star was substituted off for the second time this season, and first in Serie A play, as Juventus topped AC Milan 1-0 over the weekend. After just 55 minutes, Sarri made the bold decision to yank Ronaldo, replaced by Paulo Dybala. The substitution was justified as Dybala scored the game’s only goal in the 77th minute.

Ronaldo could be clearly seen muttering under his breath as he came off the field and went straight down the tunnel. Reports came through that the 34-year-old left the stadium before the match concluded, but when Sarri was asked about it after the match, he did not chastise his star forward.

“I don’t know. If it’s true what you say then it’s a problem for him to sort out with his own teammates,” Sarri said in his post-match press conference of Ronaldo’s potential early exit. “If he gets angry at being substituted after all he has won, I’m very happy about that because it means he still has his head fully in the game and he wants to help the team at all costs.”

In fact, Sarri went so far as to praise Ronaldo for playing despite being less than 100% fit. “I have no problem with Cristiano, he should be thanked because he made himself available despite not being in the best condition,” Sarri said. “In the last month he has had discomfort in his knee and this is a little problem for him.”

While that could also be a sly ploy to get Ronaldo withdrawn from international consideration ahead of the break, it’s also a potential olive branch from the manager after doing something he knows hasn’t sit well with his superstar. Still, Ronaldo’s actions could be significant moving forward. It is well-known that he does not combine well with Dybala on the field, and the Argentinian scoring as Ronaldo’s replacement could be a massive blow to his ego. He was substituted off in the 82nd minute against Lokomotiv Moscow in Champions League play midweek, and two consecutive matches without a full 90 minutes is a rare occurrance in Ronaldo’s career.

The win leaves Juventus unbeaten on the season in all competitions, a point clear of Inter Milan atop the Serie A table. They are also leading their Champions League group with 10 points, three ahead of Atletico Madrid in Group D play with a knockout stage place already clinched.