Rafael Benitez is confident that Real Madrid star Cristiano Ronaldo will be fit for their Liga opener later this month.
The Portugal international did not travel with Real to Munich to play in the Audi Cup this week, and is also absent from a 23-man squad for Sunday’s friendly against Valerenga in Norway.
Head coach Benitez explained last week that a back injury was behind Ronaldo’s absence in the Audi Cup.
But the Spaniard expects the former Manchester United man to be ready for their Liga curtain-raiser at Sporting Gijon on August 23.
“Cristiano had a problem the other day and he has been working with the medical team,” he said.
“He should be okay next week and I don’t think he’ll have any problems playing the opening game against Sporting.
“During the pre-season two players have suffered injuries; the rest have been suffering twinges or discomfort, not injuries.
“For me, it’s positive how the squad is shaping up physically.”
Benitez also confirmed his intention to use teenager Martin Odegaard against Valerenga in his home country.
“He’s young, he got a lot of talent,” he added. “He will play I don’t know whether he will play the full 90 minutes or come on in the second half. We have to take it slowly, one step at a time.”