SKOPJE, Macedonia — Real Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane has insisted Cristiano Ronaldo is fit to start the UEFA Super Cup against Manchester United.
Ronaldo only returned to training at the weekend after he was given an extended break following his Confederations Cup exertions with Portugal.
The 32-year-old, who has been linked with a move away from the Bernabeu as he battles allegations of tax fraud in Spain, has travelled to Macedonia with the rest of the squad and Zidane said he could start against his former club at the Philip II Arena in Skopje on Tuesday.
He said: “He’s relaxed and what impresses me the most is that he’s as fit as the day of the final two months ago.
“What interests me in the long run is that he’s fit.
“As to the rest, there’s not much we can do about it. The fact he’s with us means a lot. If he’s with us it’s because he’s ready to play.
“We’ll see whether he plays or not but the important thing is he’s with us.”
Real Madrid have only just returned from their tour of the United States after playing the MLS All-Stars in Chicago on Aug. 2.
Zidane, though, insists his team is ready to face Jose Mourinho‘s United.
He added: “I think the team is feeling well. We’re eager to start the season. This is the first official match and we’re hoping to start as soon as possible.
“We’ve been working and resting very well. Now is when everything starts.
“We are going to prepare the same way, our way, as always. We know a lot about our rivals. What concerns us is what we are going to do.”
Had things been different, Real Madrid captain Sergio Ramos could have been lining up for United against the Champions League winners in Skopje.
The Spaniard was heavily linked with a move to Old Trafford in 2015 as Real Madrid chased goalkeeper David De Gea.
However, United’s interest was ended when Ramos signed a new long-term contract at the Bernabeu, which is set to keep him at the club until at least 2020.
He said: “There was an opportunity in the past. It resolved itself in a different way. I’m grateful to United for the interest. It’s a great club and I wish them all the best.”
Ramos also said that Ronaldo’s presence within the squad was always important, regardless of whether he took to the pitch or not.
“Cristiano is a very important player for our team and, regardless of the number of days that he’s trained, it’s important that he travels with the team,” Ramos said. “He has a different role than any other player and his presence is always good whether he plays or not. That will be a technical decision.”
Ramos declined to share his thoughts on Ronaldo’s camp having indicated earlier this summer that their client wanted to leave Madrid as he felt persecuted by the Spanish tax authorities.
“I prefer not to speak about personal issues,” he said. “Each individual has their own private life, and they arrange it the best way possible.”
Former Madrid forward and sporting director Pedrag Mijatovic, meanwhile, said that a Super Cup would be a better spectacle with Ronaldo involved.
“Cristiano has only just started his preseason, but Zidane makes the final decision,” Mijatovic told Marca. “It is clear that his presence makes the final more attractive. Personally, I believe he will play, because he will not want to miss a game like this for anything in the world.”