Cristiano Ronaldo will miss Portugal's final 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa™ qualifier against Malta on Wednesday due to a right ankle injury.

The Real Madrid winger insisted he was fit to start against Hungary last night after spraining his ankle during his club's UEFA Champions League win over Marseille on 30 September. He lasted 27 minutes before being substituted in the 3-0 win over Hungary in Lisbon in which Carlos Queiroz's team moved into pole position for a play-off spot in Group 1.

"After the medical examination and the failure to recover from the injury he has suffered in his right ankle, Cristiano Ronaldo was given permission to leave the Portugal national squad," read a statement from the Portuguese federation.

"Therefore, the player cannot play the team's next match on Wednesday, October 14, in Guimaraes, against Malta."

Two goals from Simao Sabrosa and a header from Liedson earned Portugal their first home win in the qualifying campaign last night. That, coupled with Sweden's 1-0 defeat away to Group 1 winners Denmark, enabled the Portuguese to move into second place in the pool, a position they can hold if they beat Malta.

The 24-year-old had made an impact before his departure,as his shot in the 18th minute was fumbled by goalkeeper Gabor Babos and Atletico Madrid winger Simao reacted quickest to tuck away the loose ball and set his side on their way to victory.

The Real Madrid talent was then replaced by former Manchester United team-mate Nani.