Ronaldo in line for Russian return - Pepe

10 October 2012 02:17

Portugal defender Pepe says his team-mate Cristiano Ronaldo is the likelier of the two to overcome injury in time for their crunch World Cup qualifier in Russia on Friday.

Ronaldo has a shoulder injury and Pepe a thigh strain.

On Wednesday, the pair both took part in their first training sessions since picking up the injuries while helping Real Madrid earn a 2-2 draw with Barcelona at the weekend. Both of them trained alone, however.

"I think Ronaldo has a better chance of playing in the match on Friday than I do, but we both want to be there to help Portugal," said Pepe after his work-out.

The match is a table-topper for European zone Group F, as both Portugal and Russia have two wins from their opening two games.

"It's a big match for us, but not a crucial one. It's always good to beat your main rivals, but avoiding defeat would also be a positive result for us," said Pepe.

Valencia right-back Joao Pereira also reported for international duty nursing a light injury, but was back in full training on Wednesday.

Portugal's 23-man squad was due to fly to Moscow on Wednesday, and will return to Portugal together ahead of a second World Cup qualifier with Northern Ireland in Porto next Tuesday.

Source: AFP