ronaldo limps off injured

MADRID - Cristiano Ronaldo will be out of action for around two weeks, according to Portuguese and Spanish press reports.

MADRID - Cristiano Ronaldo will be out of action for around two weeks, according to Portuguese and Spanish press reports.

The world's most expensive player aggravated his twisted right ankle in Portugal's 3-0 thrashing of Hungary on Saturday and had to limp off the Lisbon field after just 26 minutes.

Ronaldo originally twisted the ankle in Real Madrid's 3-0 Champions League defeat of Olympique Marseille on September 30. He then missed Real's 2-1 defeat away to Sevilla on October 4.

The medical staff of the Portuguese football federation was expected to carry out a rigorous examination of the ankle late yesterday.

He will certainly miss Portugal's last World Cup qualifying game at home to Malta on Wednesday, which Carlos Queiroz' team need to win to qualify for the play-offs.

According to sports daily AS yesterday, Cristiano has asked Real to permit him to stay with the Portuguese squad until Thursday, instead of returning immediately to Madrid for treatment.

Rival daily Marca, for its part, quotes Henrique Jones, the head doctor of the Portuguese squad as denying that Cristiano should have missed the Hungary match.

"There was no risk," said Jones. "He was in condition to play, though now he is in a lot of pain." Ronaldo left Lisbon's Estadio da Luz limping, without talking to the media.

Meanwhile, the Spanish football federation announced early yesterday that five players had been permitted to leave the squad and return to Spain immediately.

These five players - Xavi, Carles Puyol, Cesc Fabregas, Carlos Marchena and Daniel Guiza - will, therefore, miss Spain's final World Cup qualifying game, away to Bosnia on Wednesday.

Xavi, Marchena and Guiza picked up slight injuries in Saturday's 2-1 win away to Armenia.

Puyol is suspended for the Bosnia match after picking up a yellow card against Armenia. Fabregas, has been released because of an undisclosed family problem.

Spain have won all nine of their matches in Group 5 and have thus qualified for the World Cup finals for the ninth successive time, a record bettered only by Brazil, Argentina, Germany and Italy. - Sapa

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