Ronaldo: I'm not at my best
Cristiano Ronaldo has said he intends to play in Portugal's friendly against Ecuador on Wednesday, although he admits that he is not 100% at the moment.
Ronaldo, who turned 28 on Tuesday, was substituted after scoring a hat-trick in La Liga against Getafe ten days ago, and has looked below his best in Madrid's two games since - the 1-1 Copa del Rey draw with Barcelona and Saturday's 0-1 Primera Division defeat at Granada, in which he scored the first own-goal of his professional career.
Reports in Spain suggest the attacker has a thigh problem which is not serious enough to stop him playing, but is limiting his contribution in games - a worrying issue for Madrid fans with the Champions League last 16 first leg clash with Manchester United just a week away.
Speaking with reporters on Monday as he joined the Portuguese squad in Guimaraes, the forward said he would discuss the situation with national coach Paulo Bento but he always wanted to play for his country.
"I am not at my best because of all the games, but I am here in body and soul with my national team," Ronaldo said. "I want to play against Ecuador because I am proud of representing my country. I always want to play to defend my club and my national team, which is a family and makes me feel at home. I will speak with the doctors and with the coach to see what is the best for me."
Madrid's next Primera Division game sees Sevilla visit the Estadio Santiago Bernabeu on Saturday evening. Midfielder Xabi Alonso and in-form young defender Raphael Varane, who both withdrew from their national squads this week, remain doubts for that game, however centre-half Pepe is close to a comeback from the ankle operation he underwent in early January.
Real then host Premier League leaders and Ronaldo's former club Manchester United at the Bernabeu the following Wednesday.