Leagues, Real Madrid, Spanish Primera División, Story

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Cristiano Ronaldo rejoined his Real Madrid teammates in training on Friday, the day before Saturday’s Clasico against La Liga leaders Barcelona.

Ronaldo, 32, had been working separately all week following Madrid’s FIFA Club World Cup final victory last weekend, after which the reigning Ballon d’Or holder had complained about a calf problem.

Zinedine Zidane’s reigning champions go into the match at the Bernabeu 11 points behind Barca, although with one game fewer played, making it a crucial fixture if they are to have any chance of retaining their crown.

Speaking after his match-winning performance in Saturday’s FIFA Club World Cup final in Abu Dhabi, Ronaldo admitted to pain in his calf following a foul by Gremio captain Geromel early in that game, but said he was sure he would recover in time for Saturday’s huge clash at the Bernabeu.

Although Madrid did not announce any specific injury problem, there was alarm among Blancos fans and pundits though as the Portugal captain missed Tuesday and Wednesday’s training sessions with his teammates, and was again unable to even work with the football on Thursday morning.

However, 24 hours ahead of the game in the Spanish capital, Ronaldo was back out on the pitch with this colleagues during the 15 minutes open to the media as they warmed up before Zidane put the players through their paces ahead of their final game of 2017.

Coach Zidane has all other 22 senior players fit and ready for Saturday’s game, with Karim Benzema and Sergio Ramos having overcome minor recent problems, and Gareth Bale suffering no apparent ill effects after his impressive cameo substitute appearances at the Club World Cup last week.

Dermot Corrigan is a Madrid-based football writer who covers La Liga and the Spain national team for ESPN FC. Follow him on Twitter @dermotmcorrigan

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