Real Madrid's Portuguese star Cristiano Ronaldohas been ruled out of his country's crucial FIFA 2010 World Cup South Africa™ play-off matches after undergoing medical tests on a troublesome ankle injury.
Portugal coach Carlos Queiroz had insisted he intended to call up the world's most expensive player for the matches against Bosnia-Herzegovina on 14 and 18 November despite opposition from Real but in the end the Portuguese Football Federation admitted that Ronaldo would not be fit enough.
"The player is not in good enough physical condition to train with the squad ahead of the play-offs," read a statement by the federation. Both Portugal - FIFA World Cup semi-finalists in 2006 - and Real had been locked in a battle over Ronaldo with the club insisting that he was not fit enough to travel.
Real Madrid doctors last week estimated that Ronaldo would be out of action for at least two more weeks as he recovers from an ankle injury. Ronaldo said he was really disappointed not to be able to play. "It's really frustrating not to be able to help Portugal particularly at such a key moment like the play-off against Bosnia," he said.
But the Portuguese captain promised to return to Lisbon on Saturday for the match. "I'll go to the stadium to support my team-mates. I'm sure that the quality of our football will surmount everything and afterwards I'll be in the locker room to celebrate the first of two steps towards the World Cup."
Ronaldo initially injured his right ankle in Real's 3-0 UEFA Champions League victory over Marseille at the end of September and aggravated the problem while playing for Portugal on 10 October. "It's impossible for Ronaldo to play with Portugal," Real coach Manuel Pellegrini said on Friday. "I feel sorry for the Portugal squad and for the player, but he hasn't trained for a long time now and he is still in pain."