MADRID - Real Madrid and the Portuguese football federation have gone to war over Cristiano Ronaldo.
Portugal national manager Carlos Queiroz announced that he was calling up the winger for this week's World Cup playoff match against Bosnia-Herzegovina, saying he would like Ronaldo to play, "even if just for a few minutes".
Ronaldo's club Real were yesterday quoted as being furious at this move because they believe his battered right ankle needs two more weeks to recover. The plan of the Spanish giants is to have him fit for the November 29 "Clasico" away to Barcelona, who are one point ahead of them in the league.
They are afraid that playing against Bosnia could aggravate his injury, and are adamant that Ronaldo will stay in Madrid rather than travel to Portugal this week.
Portugal, for their part, appear not to believe that the injury is so serious and want their own doctors to examine the winger.
It is the old "club versus country" row with a vengeance, with the world's most expensive player stuck in the middle.
Real smashed the world transfer record in June when they paid Manchester United around R1,1billion for the 24-year-old crowd pleaser.
He started out like an express train at the Estadio Bernabeu, scoring five goals in La Liga in September and four in the Champions League.
But on September 30 an ugly foul by Olympique Marseille's Souleymane Diawara badly sprained his right ankle. He was out of action for 10 days and Real did not want him to play for Portugal against Hungary.
Yesterday, Madrid sports daily ASaccused Queiroz of acting "out of resentment", because he was sacked by Real in 2004. - Sapa-DPA