Champions League

Ronaldo should play - coach

2011-03-23 20:50
Cristiano Ronaldo (File)

Madrid - Cristiano Ronaldo should be fit to play a part in Real Madrid's Champions League quarter-final first leg against Tottenham Hotspur, coach Jose Mourinho said on Wednesday.

The club's leading scorer has pulled out of Portugal's friendlies against Chile and Finland after aggravating a hamstring strain in last weekend's victory over Atletico Madrid.

The club said on Sunday he would be sidelined for two to three weeks.

"I hope he's back for the Spurs game," Mourinho was quoted as saying on the club website (www.realmadrid.com). "With his mentality we think he'll make it, but it will be tight.

"If he returns like he did for the Olympique Lyon game to make his contribution to the team, it is always welcome."

Ronaldo damaged his left hamstring during the victory over Malaga on March 3, but returned to help Real beat Lyon 3-0 in their Champions League last-16 second leg last week.

The nine-time European champions host Spurs in their quarter-final first leg on April 5, and could also have striker Gonzalo Higuain back in their ranks.

The Argentina international has been out since having surgery on his back in January.

"He played in a training match for the first time today where we used players from the youth team to make up numbers for 11 against 11," Mourinho added. Many of his squad is away on international duty.

"He played 60 minutes. Obviously he isn't ready but he's on the road back. I don't know if he'll make the game against Sporting Gijon (on the weekend April 2/3), but if he doesn't he'll be back soon, and he'll be welcome as one more.

"With so many games to play before the end of the season it is important to have him as well."

Real are chasing honours on three fronts. They are second in the league, five points behind arch-rivals Barcelona, who they also meet in the King's Cup final on April 20, and they are in the last eight of Europe's elite club competition.

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