Real Madrid will give Cristiano Ronaldo extended rest ahead of key Ateltico Madrid clash

World's best player looking to overcome fitness issues


Cristiano Ronaldo will take a break from competitive action as he aims to resolve the fitness issues that have plagued him since last season.

Ronaldo was absent from training on Saturday as his Real Madrid teammates prepared for Sunday night's La Liga match against Real Sociedad and has also been left out of Portugal's squad for their forthcoming Euro 2016 qualifying matches.

Madrid manager Carlo Ancelotti confirmed that his Valdebebas absence means the 29-year-old will miss his side's trip to San Sebastian and get a seemingly much-needed rest with the aim of returning in better shape for Madrid's crucial derby clash against title rivals Atletico Madrid at the Bernabeu on Saturday, 13 September.

"Cristiano is fine, but we preferred to use this week and next week to make sure he's completely recovered," said Ancelotti. "He is out of the squad tomorrow." The Italian also confirmed Madrid's Champions League opener against Basel, which comes just three days after the derby match, was taken into consideration. Carlo Ancelotti celebrates Real Madrid's 4-0 victory over Bayern Munich at the Allianz Arena Carlo Ancelotti will give Ronaldo the next two weeks off

The former Manchester United man won UEFA's Best Player in Europe award in Monaco on Thursday but admitted after that he "wasn't fully fit" and "pushed it" towards the back end of last season when he helped Madrid to Champions League success.

On his below-par showing with Portugal at the World Cup he admitted: "Things were more complicated with Portugal. Things can't always turn out ok. I've learned from what happened with my injury."

Portugal boss Paulo Bento told Spanish newspaper Marca that there were "questions over his [Ronaldo's] fitness] ahead of naming his squad on Friday and said "he can't compete". Portugal face Albania in their opening qualifying match next weekend.

Ronaldo has struggled with recurring thigh, hamstring and knee injuries in recent months but was still included in Madrid's league opener against Cordoba on Monday, in which he scored the second goal in a comfortable if not inspiring 2-0 victory over Albert Ferrer's newly-promoted side.

Despite including the Ballon d'Or holder for the full 90 minutes on Monday, Madrid manager Carlo Ancelotti last week acknowledged the club's talisman had not been at his best recently and hinted he would miss the clash with La Real this weekend to aid his recovery.

"Last season he [Ronaldo] had tendinitis and during the pre-season he was not at his best," he said. "He needed individual training work to sort it out. We will have to make full use of next week to do training and specific work to improve his condition."

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