Everyone concerned with what’s best for Manchester City will be hoping Cristiano Ronaldo’s healing powers don’t rival his soccer skills.
The Real Madrid titan is rated 50-50 for Los Blancos’ Champions League semi-final second leg with the Citizens and with the game poised so delicately, CR7’s potential return could be perceived as all-important ahead of the tie.
Despite their MVP’s participation being shrouded in doubt, Real are 1/2 to win the match and 21/50 to qualify for the final via any means.
The hosts’ overwhelming favouritism has seen the Citizens inflated out to 21/4 for success on the night, while it’s 9/5 about their reaching the final.
A win or score draw puts City in the showpiece, but despite having this ace up their sleeve and the prospect of no Ronaldo to contend with, the 9/5 on offer about the visitors progressing, to paraphrase Dolly Parton, ain’t no good way to make a livin’.
When the Portuguese goal machine doesn’t grace the Bernabeu turf, Real always win.
Across the previous five campaigns, he has failed to start an incredibly low ten home games. Considering Los Merengues play 19 each season in La Liga and make the latter stages of both domestic and continental cup competitions on the regular, to miss so few matches is commendable in itself, but the way Real continue to deliver even when their main man fails to make the team sheet is even more impressive.
They’re ten from ten in the game Ronaldo hasn’t started and the foes they’ve vanquished haven’t all been Copa del Rey cannon fodder either.
Barcelona were defeated in a 2012/13 Clasico, while Galatasaray and Villarreal were overcame in the Champions League and La Liga respectively during 2013/14.
This season, Ronaldo has sat out three games. All of which were away and fell within the space of the seven days that followed him sustaining the hamstring injury that may keep him out of the semi-final second leg.
Either side of the goalless draw they recorded at the Etihad, they won two domestic matches to keep their La Liga title dreams alive.
The last time they didn’t win at home without Ronaldo came in the 2011/12 campaign, when they suffered a shock defeat to Real Zaragoza just a few months after they were beaten by even smaller fries Sporting Gijon in front of the Bernabeu faithful.
Since then, they’ve been flawless minus their star man and have to be backed to best City.