Ronaldo treated like rock star
Cristiano Ronaldo (AFP)
Campinas - Cristiano Ronaldo has received a rock star's welcome as he returned to
training on Wednesday, with Portugal seeking to regroup after their
mauling from Germany in their World Cup opener.
The Real Madrid
star had a light workout for about 45 minutes before having ice applied
to his troublesome left knee -- a precaution the medical staff have also
taken in previous days.
As he left the pitch he signed a child's
football boot that was thrown towards him and hurled it back into the
crowd before resting in a dugout at the side of the pitch.
got off to the worst possible start in Brazil with a 4-0 drubbing from
Germany on Monday that also saw Pepe sent off for a head-butt and Fabio
Coentrao sustain a thigh injury that rules him out of the rest of the
Ballon D'Or winner Ronaldo himself endured an
afternoon to forget at Salvador's Arena Fonte Nova, where he was
over-shadowed by Thomas Mueller's hat-trick.
He stormed through the mixed zone after the game, refusing to answer reporters' questions.
But all that was forgiven in the Campinas sunshine as the side arrived for training at the Estadio Moises Lucarelli.
blared from loudspeakers and a helicopter whirred overhead as thousands
of fans decked out in Brazil and Portugal shirts awaited the arrival of
the 29-year-old superstar.
The Portugal captain eventually
emerged from a tunnel onto the pitch with the rest of the squad about 20
minutes late, wearing orange boots and a grey and green training top,
sending excitement to fever pitch.- Screaming fans -
he jogged around the stadium, hordes of teenage girls screamed his name
and fans pressed their faces against the wire fence to get a closer
look at their hero.
Ronaldo, who won the Champions League with
Real Madrid last month, came into the tournament on the back of knee and
thigh injuries but Portugal coach Paulo Bento confirmed he was doing
well physically after the Germany game.
Father-of-five Nuno Sousa,
who is Portuguese but lives in Sao Paulo, brought three daughters and
his son along to the training session to see Ronaldo in the flesh, all
decked out in the team's colours.
"It was a dream for them to see Ronaldo and to see the Portuguese team," he said.
father gave me tickets for me and my boyfriend," said Brazilian law
student Victoria Martins. "We came because we wanted to see Ronaldo and
Pepe. The atmosphere is amazing with everybody cheering.
"Ronaldo's not my favourite but he's very nice, very generous. He always gives donations and he's good with his fans."
Portugal cannot afford another slip-up when they meet the United States in Manaus on Sunday.
The USA beat Ghana 2-1 in their first match in Group G and are on three points alongside Germany.
final matches in the group are on June 26, when Portugal play Ghana in
Brasilia and the United States meet Germany in Recife.