The is-he-or-isn’t-he fitness watch on Cristiano Ronaldo took an upturn on Sunday – sort of – when Portugal’s captain declared himself “100” percent ahead of his team’s Group G opener vs. Germany on Monday (noon ET, ESPN).
“I would be the first to tell the coach if I were unable to play,” Ronaldo told reporters on Sunday in Salvador. “I would never put my career at risk even for a World Cup. I'd love to be 110 percent, but I am 100 percent and that is enough to help my team.”
The Ballon d’Or winner’s left knee has been the subject of scrutiny since before Real Madrid’s UEFA Champions League triumph last month. Ronaldo has been diagnosed with tendinosis in his knee – a chronic condition – and has been held out of several training sessions and pre-tournament friendlies in Portugal’s lead-up to the World Cup.
On Sunday in the Selecção’s final training session at Arena Fonte Nova, Ronaldo wore a bandage on his knee. Earlier last week, photos of him wearing ice bags on the knee set off an international sensation.
Despite declaring himself fit, the 29-year-old admitted Sunday that he will simply have to play through the pain.
“Obviously, I wish I did not have any pain, but that is impossible,” he said. “I don't think there's ever been a day without pain.”
Ronaldo and Portugal will meet the US on June 22 in Manaus in both teams’ second game of Group G play. The US open their tournament against Ghana on Monday in Natal (6 pm ET, ESPN).