September 27, 2016 12:14:10 am
Borussia Dortmund coach Thomas Tuchel is not convinced Cristiano Ronaldo is out of form saying he expected the Real Madrid talisman to cause his side plenty of problems in Tuesday’s Champions League heavyweight clash.
Ronaldo, the all-time top scorer in the competition with 94 goals, has struggled to regain fitness and form since limping off in the Euro 2016 final with a knee injury.
The prolific Portuguese has averaged over a goal per game in his seven seasons with Real but has made a slow start to his eighth campaign, missing three games with injury and scoring two goals in four appearances, completing 90 minutes twice.
Ronaldo’s angry reaction to being taken off by coach Zinedine Zidane in the 72nd minute of Real’s 2-2 draw at Las Palmas on Sunday has been the subject of much attention in the Spanish media, who are debating whether the 32-year-old is past his best.
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Dortmund coach Tuchel, however, said his team will not be any less wary of Ronaldo in Tuesday’s Group F match.
“You cannot declare that Cristiano Ronaldo is not on form, full stop,” Tuchel told a news conference on Monday.
“Who said Cristiano is out of form? And what does that mean? I can’t give a concrete answer but Cristiano is one of the best players in the world. He is an incredible player, a born winner.
“He can be decisive for his team in any moment in a game and that’s why we’re expecting to face the best Real Madrid side possible. It’s a Champions League night in Dortmund and the best players bring their best performances on nights like these.”
Real’s strong start to the season has been punctured by two consecutive draws, which interrupted a joint La Liga record of 16 straight wins, and Zidane’s side will have to cope against Dortmund without midfield anchor Casemiro and left-back Marcelo.
Casemiro has been ruled out of action for two months with a calf injury, something Tuchel appeared unaware of.
“We’re not sure if Casemiro will miss it, but he’s very important for them, he runs a lot and balances the team. He’d be a big loss for them,” Tuchel said.
When informed Casemiro was unavailable, Tuchel blushed and added: “We knew that, but you never know what can happen.”
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