Real Madrid forward Cristiano Ronaldo has today started an extensive recovery programme with decorated sports physio Joaquin Juan in a bid to recover swiftly from a hamstring injury, hoping to benefit from the same expertise that has helped NBA star Pau Gasol in the past.
Juan has helped LA Lakers veteran Gasol and Monaco striker Radamel Falcao make a quick return from muscle injuries to become established as one of Europe's leading physicians, a pool of experience Ronaldo is desperate to call upon at the business end of the campaign.
Spanish publication AS reported this morning that Ronaldo had a one-inch tear to his left hamstring diagnosed at a Madrid clinic on Wednesday, which led both the club and player to ask Juan for help in his bid to play before the end of April.
Ronaldo was forced to miss the midweek Champions League qualifier against Borussia Dortmund with the problem, taking up a visibly frustrated watching brief from the bench.
The 29-year-old is expected to be out for around a fortnight but has decided to undergo extensive work with Juan with the aim of being fit for Madrid's Champions League showdown with Bayern Munich.
Carlo Ancelotti's side host Bayern in the first-leg of that semi-final clash on either Tuesday 22nd or Wednesday 23rd, with the return leg a week later, giving Madrid's Portuguese talisman very little time to find full fitness for those crunch matches.
Tuesday's trip to Dortmund showed just how important Ronaldo is to Madrid's hopes of a 10th Champions League crown, with the German giants winning 2-0 on the night and narrowly missing out on taking the quarter-final to extra time.
Any reliance on Ronaldo can surely be forgiven though when you consider his incredible goal record though, particularly in the Champions League, with a staggering 14 goals in 8 European games so far this term.