Real Madrid manager Zinedine Zidane has confirmed Cristiano Ronaldo is fit to feature in Tuesday's UEFA Super Cup clash against Manchester United but was enigmatic when pushed on whether his star would play.
Ronaldo only officially returned to team training from an extended summer vacation on Saturday, but Zidane suggested the four-time Ballon d'Or winner has lost none of his potency over the holidays, per ESPN FC's Rob Dawson:
"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."
As highlighted by Sky Sports News reporter Kaveh Solhekol, Ronaldo hasn't featured for Los Merengues in pre-season, where they've failed to win any of their four friendlies over the space of 90 minutes:
Zidane is hoping the return of his central star will help reverse that trend against UEFA Europa League winners United, who have added Romelu Lukaku, Nemanja Matic and Victor Lindelof to their ranks in the off-season.
The Real manager's comments seem to suggest Ronaldo stands a strong chance of appearing in Skopje, Macedonia, where the Super Cup is being held, but ESPN FC's Dermot Corrigan nodded to Zidane's array of options:
Ronaldo only started training with his team again on Saturday but did head back to Madrid ahead of his scheduled August 5 return date in order to work on his individual fitness.
The Portuguese talisman's approach to football means Ronaldo is never truly far from match fitness, and his early comeback from holidays after winning the UEFA Champions League in June has indicated he's raring to go:
Playing against his former club is an almost poetic setting for his first fixture of the 2017-18 campaign, and his first input for the new season could be to help Los Blancos get the term rolling with silverware.
Whether that will be as part of the starting XI or from the bench—or at all—will be for Zidane to decide, but the French tactician appeared positive regarding his forward's chances ahead of kick-off.