By TATE STEINLAGE
Real Madrid teammates Cristiano Ronaldo and Pepe will miss Portugal’s first tune-up match for the World Cup against Greece on Saturday after joining camp Thursday.
The team’s star winger and captain missed training Friday and has yet to leave the team hotel due to an on-going injury to his left thigh and knee. Portugal manager Paulo Bento said Ronaldo will travel with the team but will miss Saturday’s friendly.
“He will be with us but he will not compete,” Bento told local reporters.
Bento does not believe the injury to Ronaldo will force the forward to miss the team’s first group stage match against Germany on June 16, but he is still considering “every scenario” leading up to the opening match.
“I don’t think so but I have to consider every scenario,” Bento said. “What I don’t want to do is put any sort of pressure on a player that causes them to compete when they are not in a the right state to do so.
“We’re not setting any deadlines. The player’s well-being comes first. I want him to be in the best possible form without running any risks. We must have a team that compete with the players who are usually the first choices and can compete with players who maybe aren’t among the first choices.”
Portugal central defender Pepe is ruled out because of a calf injury that forced the 31-year-old to miss last Saturday’s UEFA Champions League final against Atletico Madrid. Pepe is expected to recover and be healthy before Portugal kicks off in Brazil.
Following Saturday’s friendly, Portugal will travel to the United States for two final tune-up matches against Mexico and the Republic of Ireland on June 6 and 10, respectively.
What do you make of the injuries to Ronaldo and Pepe? Think there is any chance that Ronaldo misses time at the World Cup?
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