Ronaldo on track for 'El Clasico' return

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The Independent Online

Cristiano Ronaldo is on track to be fit for Real Madrid's 'El Clasico' showdown with Barcelona later in the month after being given the all clear to return to training.

The world record £80m winger has missed Real's last nine matches with an ankle injury picked up in a Champions League games against Marseille in September.



Ronaldo took part in a light training session on Monday and Tuesday and a further round of medical tests have given him the green light to step up his comeback on Friday.



"After being observed throughout the day by Real Madrid's medical services and Dr Van Dijk - as well as undergoing a clinical examination that included x-rays - it was decided that Cristiano Ronaldo should continue his recovery protocol until the final pre-established date which is next Friday, at which point he can resume group training," read a club statement.



Real are scheduled to take on La Liga rivals Barcelona on Saturday November 28.



Meanwhile, club stalwart Raul has spoken of his desire to remain at the Santiago Bernabeu outfit for the rest of his career.



The 32-year-old Spain international made his debut for the European giants in 1994 and has remained an integral part of the set-up ever since.



He is the club's record goalscorer and has no intention of playing for anyone else as his playing days come to a close.



Speaking to the club's official website, he said: "I intend to continue fighting and enjoying the game, so we'll see how long I hold up.



"My dream was to begin and end here, but circumstances change and decisions sometimes need to be made.



"I think the Real Madrid-Raul relationship is hard to break, so I hope to end my career here."



Elsewhere, Barcelona midfielder Xavi doesn't believe the Spanish national team should be the hot favourites for next year's World Cup finals, despite their excellent run of form.



Since the start of 2007, they have claimed 40 victories - including two after extra-time - and suffered just one defeat in their 43 fixtures.



But the diminutive star suggested that past winners of the coveted prize should be considered before the Spanish, whose best finish was fourth back in 1950.



Speaking to reporters, he said: "This World Cup arrives at a good time for our generation. But we must go there with both humility and the need to work hard.



"People must remember the Confederations Cup where the United States knocked us out. I don't like at all this tag of favourites that some are freely hanging on us.



"We are champions of Europe, we are playing good football, but we still don't have this something extra of teams such as Argentina, Germany, Italy or Brazil, this winner gene."



Atletico Madrid coach Quique Sanchez Flores has been confirmed to be suffering with swine flu.



Flores, who only took over at the Vicente Calderon last month following his dismissal of Abel Resino, has been kept away from training this week.



"Quique Sanchez Flores is still on sick leave and was unable to direct the two training sessions programmed for Tuesday," read a club statement.



"After undergoing various tests, it was confirmed that the manager is suffering from 'Type A' flu.



"The coach will stay away from the team for the moment. (He) is following the treatment indicated to overcome this illness and his recovery is on the right path. "



Flores is expected to be in the dugout for Saturday's La Liga meeting with Deportivo La Coruna.

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