One of the biggest stars at the World Cup, Cristiano Ronaldo, will be bothered by injuries when the competition begins. He has dealt with a nagging thigh injury that caused him to miss playing time with Real Madrid. Now, the news of patellar tendinitis has complicated matters for Portugal’s star. This is the type of injury that is easily aggravated by activity, which will make it tough for Ronaldo to be at 100 percent by June 16.
Ronaldo completed 90 minutes in just two of the final 10 matches for Real Madrid. He was not at top speed in the Champions League final. He sat out Portugal’s match with Greece this past week and has continued to rehab in team hotels and during training. Most assumed this was due to the thigh injury, but it becomes more complicated with the news of what is commonly referred to as jumper’s knee.
The patellar tendon is what connects the knee to your shin. It is pivotal in kicking a ball, so one can see how soccer would aggravate the injury. According to the Mayo Clinic, if the condition worsens, the tendon could be torn more and more. The risk factors of continuing to play are more stress on the tendon and surrounding area, tight leg muscles and muscular imbalance.
Despite this news, Ronaldo did return to practice on Wednesday, working closely with coach Antonio Gaspar on Tuesday. It was light ball work and not a full workout. Portugal will not rush Ronaldo’s recovery so he can play in either of the remaining warm up matches against Mexico and Ireland. The goal is for him to play the opening match of the tournament.
Ronaldo’s weakened fitness level will help the USMNT in a tough group. There is a high chance that the injuries will be aggravated. He may be on the field when the USMNT face off with Portugal in the second group stage match, but it is doubtful he will be at full strength.