Real Madrid’s Ronaldo closer to boost Portugal against Russia than Pepe

Reuters, Wednesday 10 Oct 2012

Portugal's Pepe says that Ronaldo is closer to facing Russia than me

Portugal's Pepe and Cristiano Ronaldo (Photo: Reuters)

Portugal captain Cristiano Ronaldo, recovering from a shoulder injury, is more likely to feature in Friday's Group F World Cup qualifier away to Russia than Pepe who is trying to shake off a thigh injury, according to the midfielder.

The influential Real Madrid pair returned to light training on Wednesday after sustaining injuries during Sunday's 2-2 'Clasico' draw at Barcelona.

"The match against Barcelona was very tiring. Cristiano has more chance than me to be fit for Friday's match," Pepe told reporters at Portugal's trainning camp in Obidos, just north of Lisbon.

Ronaldo travelled to Portugal after Real said his injury was not serious. He hurt his left shoulder attempting an overhead kick in the second half against Barcelona and, although he appeared in some discomfort, finished the match.

Fiery Brazilian-born Pepe said he still hoped to take part in the Russia clash, which features the two group favourites who are setting the pace with two wins from two matches.

"I am going to do everything within my power to recover in time. I want to help the team and am recovering well," Pepe said.

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