Club Focus – Real Madrid – Dodgy doping and dubious Cristiano Ronaldo injury part of Real’s quiet week

It is another international week which means no La Liga action for a fortnight but of course that does not mean that things are any quieter for Real Madrid down at the Santiago Bernabeu.

As the players jet off to various climbs to represent their countries, domestically there is the small matter of the Barcelona doping allegations to consider, with Real Madrid also implicated in the affair. However, what potentially could have been a seismic scandal has been downgraded in recent days after the truth emerged to get in the way of a decent story.

Pliant in the misunderstanding between Spain’s two superpowers was a little known journalist by the name of Juan Antonio Alcala, whose ambiguous radio report became misconstrued into a false notion that Barcelona were in some way at the centre of a doping controversy.

What started out as a scoop on Los Blancos pursuing the Spanish Football federation for tighter doping controls resulted in the Catalans being insinuated with ‘dodgy doctors’ and doping malpractice. This nuance was seized upon by the rest of the Spanish press whom, often favouring one facet or another – and even more regularly trying to hyperbolise the rivalry between the two for self-gain – suggested that Barca believed their old foes had stitched them, a strategy boosted by former Blaugrana president Joan Laporta stating that he believed that Real were behind the affair.

Fortunately, in a somewhat rare show of bonhomie between the two giants, members of each sides high command have gone on record to exonerate the other of any wrongdoing and thus douse the flickering flames of conflict before they began to burn.

Also being produced from within the bowels of the Bernabeu over the international break is a melodrama titled “Is he really injured?” featuring Jose Mourinho and Cristiano Ronaldo. Although the narrative and outcome are immediately given away by the identity of its two protagonists, it is nonetheless a source of discussion both in Spain and England ahead of Real’s clash with Tottenham Hotspur in the Champions League quarter-finals.

The world’s most expensive player missed two La Liga games recently with a hamstring injury but managed a miraculous recovery for the European victory over Lyon and derby defeat of Atletico Madrid, despite having been previously ruled out of both games in the initial prognosis.

The Portuguese flyer subsequently re-injured himself late in the El Derbi Madrileno with his side 2-0 up. The recurrence of the hamstring strain is considered too severe for Ronaldo to contemplate playing in Portugal’s upcoming friendlies against Chile and Finland, although there are now reports coming from the Madrid-based press claiming that their star man will indeed be fit for the visit of Spurs in two weeks time.

Quite who is supposed to be convinced by this carry-on is unclear. Certainly Harry Redknapp will not be and nor will Sporting Gijon Coach Manuel Preciado be surprised by Mourinho’s late April Fool’s jape when the sides meet on April 3.

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