In what will serve as an ominous warning to La Liga defences Cristiano Ronaldo is vowing to come back stronger from the knee injury that curtailed his involvement in this month’s European Championship final.
The Portuguese star was injured in a first-half clash with France’s Dimitri Payet and, despite his stubborn efforts to battle through the pain, left the Stade de France pitch on a stretcher.
He said: ‘A big hug to my fans and tell them everything is fine, I’ll come back stronger. Viva Portugal.’
The consummate professional Ronaldo set the wheels in motion on his recovery process while on holiday with his family in Ibiza.
He attended a specialist clinic on the island to receive oxygen treatment and it is anticipated he will return in time for Real’s home encounter with Osasuna on September 11.
His enforced lay off will at least afford Ronaldo a breather.
He has played more than 50 games in each of five of his seven seasons at the Bernabeu Stadium and last term featured 48 times for his club before joining Portugal’s ultimately successful Euros campaign.
Ronaldo will sit out Real’s pre-season involvement in the International Champions Cup, which comprises fixtures in the USA against Paris Saint-Germain, Chelsea and Bayern Munich.
Madrid will also be missing their goalscoring phenomenon for the UEFA Super Cup clash with Sevilla in Norway on August 9.
The 31-year-old will be unavailable when his team kick-off their La Liga season at Real Sociedad on August 21. He missed the same fixture in March with the thigh injury that also ruled him out of Real’s Champions League semi-final first leg match at Manchester City.
Ronaldo would have been licking his lips at the prospect of playing in Real’s following game, at home to Celta Vigo – the side he hit for four on their last visit to the home of the 11-times European Champions.
Pity newly-promoted Osasuna, then, the team in the firing line when a revitalised, ‘stronger’ Ronaldo is expected to be pulling on his boots again.