Cristiano Ronaldo is a doubt for the rest of the 2014 World Cup, if rumours circulating in Brazil are to be believed.
The Portugal winger has been playing through the pain for his country this summer, with national team manager Paulo Bento trying to nurse the Real Madrid superstar through training in order to feature in the big Group G matches.
However, the 29-year-old may have pushed himself too far earlier today, as he was withdrawn during an open training session with over 30 minutes still to go in the session. He left with his left knee heavily iced.
Rumours started circulating on Twitter earlier this evening that this may well be the end of Cristiano Ronaldo's tournament, whilst reports in Spain this morning claimed he had ignored doctors advice to play in the 4-0 defeat to Germany on Monday.
Those reports went on to claim that the former Manchester United-man is putting his career at risk if he does not rest the knee over the next two months - but he appears desperate to help his country try and succeed in south America.
It didn't go according to plan in the opener though, as a Thomas Muller hat-trick and Pepe red card saw things go from bad to worse for the play-off qualifiers.
Portugal's next World Cup match is on Sunday against the United States of America, giving Ronaldo little time to recover if the knee injury is bad - but hasn't put him out of the tournament indefinitely as the reports have claimed.
Given the nation's precarious position in the group following the first defeat, it will be difficult for Bento to rest Ronaldo if he does make himself available for selection. The smart move might be to let him sit out of training and this game, then bring him back for the final group match against Ghana on Thursday, 26th June.
That would be seen as a huge gamble, and if it backfires against America the nation could well crash out of the tournament before they've even got going. The heavy defeat to Germany means their goal difference is a major concern.
This could all be coincidental if, as the rumours are claiming, Ronaldo is out of the competition altogether. It would be a nightmare blow for both the player and his country in a tournament that offered so much for the world player of the year.
However, the 112 cap international has shown many times through his career that he has stunning powers of recovery, and until the words come out of his own mouth, there is always a suspicion that Cristiano Ronaldo will be there when Portugal need him.
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