Three months, that’s the period for which Cristiano Ronaldo has been playing through the pain barrier, dogged by ongoing discomfort to his left knee. The Portuguese forward has been hampered by a recurrence of the issues with the patellar tendon which back in 2014 forced him to watch on from the stands at very worst possible point of the season. Back then, he was sidelined between the end of March right up until the final few days of April, missing out on the Copa del Rey final against Barcelona. He went on to play in the Champions League showpiece against Atlético when only really half fit, before heading out to Brazil with his national team with no real chance of producing his best.
Despite having experienced the undesirable consequences of struggling on when not in top physical condition, Ronaldo is certainly not one to rest when the opportunity presents itself. The former Manchester United man maintains that he knows his body better than anyone else, and prescribes himself physical work as the only route to recovery. In sum, the three-time Ballon d’Or winner much prefers playing on rather than having to kick every ball from the relative comfort of the terraces.
Now what we’re seeing is a Ronaldo who is thriving as the long-awaited improvements in performance levels with every passing game become a reality. His patellar tendon has gained in strength, and as a result his knee is more stable, meaning he suffers from less pain, whilst his pace and confidence are flooding back in equal measure.
This is the truth which hides behind Ronaldo’s post-match comments fresh from having netted four against Malmö. The niggles which he has been putting up with in silence for three months would now appear to be firmly behind him. He didn’t give in and bow down to his knee pains and he is reaping the rewards as he rediscovers his top physical condition.
This is perhaps explains why, quite apart from his four-goal haul or because he’d just clinched yet another record, the ‘Los Blancos’ number 7 was so overjoyed at the final whistle. Cristiano Ronaldo has got his swagger back, and the real CR7 is now most definitely standing up.