Ronaldo unlikely to recover in time for La Liga opener

by
Reuters

Cristiano Ronaldo's knee injury is proving more worrisome by the week.

Real Madrid manager Zinedine Zidane confirmed to reporters Friday he's not counting on the Portuguese super star to take part in the club's La Liga opener at Real Sociedad on Aug. 21.

Ronaldo, who suffered the ailment in the Euro 2016 final, already ruled himself out of the Super Cup against Sevilla on Aug. 9.

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"He has to get himself prepared and we're not going to throw him in after a month off," said Zidane. "We've got 10 days between the Super Cup and the next game. He'll be working with us, but I don't think that he'll play in the first La Liga game."

Karim Benzema is also dealing with injury trouble. Dogged by a familiar hip problem, the Frenchman will not participate in Saturday's friendly against Chelsea, but Zidane's cautiously optimistic about Benzema's chances of playing in Madrid's third and final International Champions Cup exhibition against Bayern Munich on Wednesday - and, more importantly, in the UEFA showpiece event.

"It's hip-related and it's something that continues to bother him," said Zidane. "We're working on it and every day he's in with the physios. We hope that he can play a part in the third game because it's important that he plays before the Super Cup."

The idea is the same for Sergio Ramos, Luka Modric, and James Rodriguez, who all recently joined Madrid's preseason trip following their extended break. All three players suited up for their countries between Euro 2016 and the Copa America Centenario.

"They're fine-tuning their fitness and they're following the same programme as their teammates," the manager said. "They'll train in the morning and we'll have to see whether they play in the evening. The plan is for them to be ready for the Super Cup and to do that they must play against Bayern, at the very least."

Los Blancos dropped their first preseason match 3-1 to Paris Saint-Germain.