The Portuguese superstar is still struggling with injury ahead of his side’s crunch European tie
Juventus have been dealt a major blow in their quest for Champions League glory as star forward Cristiano Ronaldo faces a race against time to be fit for his side’s quarter-final first-leg clash against Ajax.
Ajax produced one of the shocks of the round of 16 by knocking out record-holding Real Madrid over two legs and will prove stern opposition.
Ronaldo sustained an injury just half an hour into Portugal’s 1-1 draw with Serbia during the international break but initially looked as though he would recover in time to face the Eredivisie outfit.
Bianconeri boss Max Allegri gave a comprehensive update on the fitness of his squad in the build-up to his side’s Serie A clash with AC Milan, with their Champions League encounter firmly in mind.
“Cristiano is working to get back, we hope to have him ready for Ajax, but it will be difficult,” Allegri said.
“Douglas Costa is in good condition and should be available for that game. Sami Khedira trained yesterday and could be back for Milan [on April 6].
“Cuadrado is working well and it’s only a matter of time until he’s back with the group. I’ll see how Paulo Dybala is today, whilst Mario Mandzukic had a bit of a fever so will need to be evaluated.”
The Italian may well have a near-full complement if things progress as positively as his comments suggested for the majority of the fitness doubts in the squad, but the fact that his five-time Ballon d’Or winner seems the least likely to recover in time was an obvious concern.
He insisted, however, that there were still enough positive signs to remain hopeful of the possibility of Ronaldo taking to the field on April 10.
“Today’s exam is much better, the leg is much better, then there is a clinical examination and the player’s symptoms. There are still 9 days to go, so we still have time to evaluate things together. He is doing things he can do right now, it is normal that you have to be careful in everything and evaluate pros and cons.”