The Los Blancos legend had to be substituted at the break by Zinedine Zidane after picking up the knock after equalising for Madrid in Catalonia.
With the Champions League final against Liverpool only three weeks away and the World Cup looming large, the 33-year-old’s legion of fans are hoping it is not a serious problem. At first glance, and according to medical experts, it appears no more than a sprain but he has tweaked the same ankle joint that has troubled him in the past.
Fortunately, over the years, Ronaldo hasn’t spent too much time on the treatment table during his remarkable career. But, here, we look at a few instances that have forced him to do just that.
Famously, Ronaldo stood orchestrating orders on the touchline and barking out tactics alongside manager Fernando Santos as Portugal, against the odds, triumphed over France 1-0 in the Euro 2016 final.
Ronaldo wasn’t on the pitch to finish the job in the showpiece himself due to an ill-timed (and possibly deliberate) challenge by Dimitri Payet early on. The then West Ham midfielder targeted Portugal’s hero, catching his knee with a hard follow through tackle when Ronaldo’s left leg was planted as he played the ball off.
It was the kind of crunching challenge to end anyone’s match but Ronaldo tried to play on in discomfort before sinking to his knees in the 17th minute and then the tears came. He left the field for three minutes after medical attention, and then came back in the hope he could run it off. But, the injury was all too serious and he was forced to be substituted in the 25th minute.
It was later revealed he had suffered a grade one anterior cruciate ligament sprain in his left knee and he was late starting that subsequent pre-season, beginning for Zidane’s men in mid-August.
Ronaldo aggravated his ankle during Portugal’s World Cup qualifying win over Hungary and didn’t return until late November, having had a minor setback in his rehabilitation process. That stunted his initial impact at Los Blancos – forcing him to miss nine games, the most he has ever missed through injury for the club – having signed for the Spanish giants in a whirlwind deal from Manchester United earlier that summer.
Following Euro 2008, Ronaldo underwent ankle surgery on his right ankle – an early indication that he had a problem in that area – and was ruled out for up to three months. This, along with a knee problem, meant he returned to action in late September for the Red Devils and did not get up to full speed until the following month.
The surgery was a long time coming, given he had played through the pain barrier at the Austria-Switzerland tournament. He did, however, show no real signs of that injury when he helped United to Premier League and Champions League success in 2007-08.
“I don’t know how long he’ll be out,” the Frenchman said in quotes reported on Real’s official website.
“He said it wasn’t much, but we’ll see tomorrow.
“We’ll do some tests to see the extent of the damage done to his ankle. He was a little worried because it was a bit swollen, but he said that it’s nothing serious.”
Barca had Sergi Roberto sent off in first-half stoppage-time following a clash with Marcelo, but regained the lead through Lionel Messi seven minutes after the interval.
Gareth Bale then curled home a first-time effort with 18 minutes remaining to leave Real three points behind city rivals Atletico in the race for second, albeit with a game in hand.
“I’d have liked to have won,” added Zidane.
“There was nothing at stake but it was a good Clasico – high intensity and chances. They played well and so did we.
“Everyone who likes football can be happy with a game like that. Football is always more important than the controversy that you want to create.
“We had a good opportunity to win today, clearly, we had a lot of chances to score, especially in the first half. In the end it was a draw and that’s that. There are two games left and, in the end, Barcelona will finish the season unbeaten.”
— Real Madrid C.F.🇺🇸🇬🇧 (@realmadriden) May 6, 2018
Barca boss Ernesto Valverde was pleased with the way his side went about their business with 10 men.
“We made a great effort, since playing with a man down is never easy, still less against Real Madrid because they always find spaces,” he said in quotes on the club’s official website.
“It was a very intense Clasico and we all want to win, in a game of this kind there is always tension.
“The match deserved it, we had a great game despite the difficulties. It’s a shame we couldn’t win.”
Los Blancos have conceded the title race to rivals Barcelona and with the focus now solely on the Champions League, this decision will make sense.
The Portugal superstar though didn’t have a memorable game against Jupp Heynckes’ team at the Allianz Arena despite his team winning 2-1, thanks to goals from Marcelo and Marco Asensio.
Ronaldo with Madrid’s win became the player with the most Champion League wins under his belt (96), beating former team mate Iker Casillas in the list.
— Real Madrid C.F.🇺🇸🇬🇧 (@realmadriden) April 26, 2018