Real Madrid are refusing to rule Cristiano Ronaldo out of Wednesday’s Champions League return against Manchester City.
Ronaldo missed the semi-final, first leg at the Etihad Stadium on Tuesday due to a thigh injury and Madrid looked toothless in attack without the three-time Ballon d’Or winner.
The club have said little regarding Ronaldo’s fitness – or the length of time he could be absent – but coach Zinedine Zidane remains optimistic he will only be sidelined for a short period.
Speaking ahead of Saturday’s trip to Real Sociedad, Zidane said: “At the end of the day the important thing is to recover to play on Wednesday. Tomorrow he will not play.”
Madrid’s desire for Ronaldo to return is exacerbated by an injury to his fellow forward Karim Benzema, who also has a hamstring problem.
Zidane added: “Ronaldo is here every day doing the maximum so he can play on Wednesday.
“We cannot risk Cristiano and Karim.
“My hope is that Cristiano and Benzema are fit on Wednesday, but I cannot guarantee that 100 per cent.
“Benzema has a grade one injury. But that can last seven days, six days, three days. I think by Wednesday he may be fit. I do not think it’s right to say that his season is over.”
Ronaldo’s mother Dolores Aveiro believes her son will play, but will not be able to operate at full throttle.
She told reporters on Thursday: “He is not 100 per cent, but I think he will be 80 per cent next week.
“He is a person who always wants more and has a strong character. He works to do more.”