BARCELONA (Reuters) - Real Madrid forward Cristiano Ronaldo is confident he will have recovered from a persistent thigh injury in time for Saturday’s Champions League final.
The FIFA Ballon d'Or winner, top scorer in La Liga this season with 31 goals, has been suffering recurring thigh problems since early April and has spent the last two weeks concentrating on being ready for the Lisbon showdown against Atletico Madrid.
His last match was away to Valladolid on May 7 where a 1-1 draw practically ended Real's La Liga title hopes and Ronaldo lasted less than 10 minutes before limping off.
“I feel good but still not 100 percent. I hope to be ready for Saturday,” the Portuguese told Real Madrid TV on Tuesday.
The Portuguese missed the last two games of the season and is still not back to full training.
"It is my first day out on the pitch and I feel ok and happy,” he said.
"Playing during the week and weekends means it is normal that the body has a negative response. Unfortunately I have had a few problems but if you look around Europe the same thing is happening and players are getting injured.
"Nobody wants to miss a final, a final we have been aiming for and it is obviously important. If the body can’t do it then it is not the end of the world but I will be there, I am confident."
There is more concern over whether defender Pepe and striker Karim Benzema, with calf and adductor injuries respectively, will be ready in time.
“They are the only two players over whom we have doubts," Real coach Carlo Ancelotti told a news conference.
"I am not optimistic or pessimistic. Right now they wouldn’t be able to play but we are not taking the decision now. If Pepe isn’t ready then Varane would take his place.”
Real have faced Atletico four times this season, losing to them and drawing in La Liga but winning both legs of the King’s Cup semi-final.
“I don’t think there is a favourite, it will be an even game," Ancelotti said.
"Atletico have shown plenty of quality during the season but normally in finals like this there aren’t favourites. Maybe Atletico are in high spirits and we have the desire to win,” said Ancelotti, who denied he felt under pressure to win Real’s 10th European Cup.
“For me it is an honour to be in the final with Madrid and I am just happy to be in this position," he said.
"It is not an obsession but a big opportunity. We can become part of the history of this club but this doesn’t make it an obsession but a one-off opportunity.”
Reporting by Tim Hanlon, editing by Ed Osmond