Thursday, 2 November 2006

El Gordo's days are numbered

Fat boy Ronaldo wheezes through yet another game

Unfortunately for Ronaldo, he only practices the second half of a "work hard, play hard" philosophy. He is reportedly still 4 kg over the target weight set by Capello's trainers and doesn't seem to be trying too hard to lose it and get match fit.

Unofficial reports coming out of Real Madrid are that the knives are out for him, that Calderón is now regretting pushing AC Milan too hard in negotiations last summer and that they are preparing to put him on the transfer list, possibly in time for the January transfer window.

Ronaldo also hasn't made himself very popular at the club, by ignoring Real Madrid doctors and undergoing knee surgery in Brazil after the World Cup. Since then, he has struggled to get anywhere near match fitness and his boast to score 30 goals this season looks emptier by the say (he hasn't scored yet).

He was reportedly furious at being made to warm up for the majority of the second half of Real's game against Nàstic at the weekend, but unlike his team-mate Cassano, he kept quiet (at least in public) and was thought to be likely to be "rewarded" with a start in last night's Champions League game against Steaua.

It didn't happen. Ronaldo came after van Nistelrooy missed his penalty to play the last 20 minutes. A mysterious 'stiff neck' was blamed, but Ronaldo said at the end of the game that he felt fine. Capello tried to smooth things over by saying that it was his decision to leave Ronaldo out as he had strained his neck in training, and even though he had claimed to be fine just before the game, he had decided not to start him. The Bernabéu gave 'El Gordo' a warm welcome when he came on, but, unless he bucks up (and going by previous years, this is unlikely) he'll be out by the end of the season.

Another galáctico bites the dust...

By the way, Real won the game 1-0 with an own goal by Nicolita. A far cry from the 4-1 performance in Bucharest two weeks earlier, but, in true Capello style, effective. A farily tedious game, although Helguera will never have an easier miss and van Nistelrooy will rue not adding to his tally of goals this season with that missed penalty. Real Madrid now qualifies for the knock-out stages of the Champions League and will fight unbeaten Olympique Lyon for the group's first place in their next game on the 21st.

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