Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 1 October 2014

Cristiano Ronaldo calls for patience over knee injury

Cristiano Ronaldo didn't play for a single minute against Borussia Dortmund in the second leg of the Champions League quarter-finals.

With the Copa del Rey final on Wednesday, April 16 against the mighty Barcelona, the Portuguese goal machine might also sit out Real's next league game against Almería.

After the game against Dortmund, Ronaldo said that "we have to be patient" regarding his knee injury's progress, after not coming on even for a minute just when his club's Champions League aspirations were looking doubtful.

Madrid boss Carlo Ancelotti, meanwhile, was upbeat about his star player's situation. He said: "Ronaldo is improving. If it was anything serious, he wouldn't have been sitting on the bench, but putting him on would have been taking a risk.

"He will continue resting for the next few days and I think he'll be ready to play some part Almería game."

Luka Modric was one of the more critical players of his team's game against Dortmund. The former Spurs star said: "I don't know what happened. Maybe we were too relaxed after having won 3-0 in the first leg.

"Perhaps we started off thinking it would be easy. We always say that we need to learn from these games, but it seems that we never learn".

The Croat was very sincere in his thoughts: "Of course we are happy because we are through to the semi-finals, but we are not happy with how we played, especially in the first half.

"We shouldn't allow these things to happen to us. We were improving very well over the last few games but we weren't at our best against Dortmund, especially in the first half."

Real Madrid's fourth consecutive qualification for the Champions League semi-finals did not come easily however, and to a large extent they owe the win to the brilliance of goalkeeper Iker Casillas.

The Spanish international goalkeeper proved his World Cup credentials and acted decisively on three or four occasions, two of them shots by Armenian Henrikh Mkhitaryan in the second half when trailing 2-0.

Mkhitaryan was the first to go close for Borussia in the first half when he side-footed his shot straight at Casillas following good work from Robert Lewandowski and the dangerous Marco Reus.

Sensing an opportunity, Dortmund soon created another opening as Mats Hummels powered a header goalwards from Reus's free-kick. Casillas got two firm hands behind it.

The Spanish number one could do nothing about Reus's double, which set up what would have been a famous comeback, but Madrid regrouped and Casillas prevented what could have been 3-0 to the Germans.

Casillas showed quick reactions to repel another Mkhitaryan effort and again moments later to deny Kevin Grosskreutz as the Blancos managed to avenge last year's defeat to the Germans and avoid the dreaded extra-time to reach a record 25th European Cup semi-final and keep their Décima dream alive.

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