Cristiano Ronaldo has admitted it will be another three weeks before he has fully recovered from his summer ankle operation.
The Manchester United star came through his first full 90 minutes in the 3-0 win over Aalborg in Denmark last night that propelled the Red Devils to the top of Champions League Group E.
Although he did not get on the scoresheet himself, Ronaldo did provide the cross for Dimitar Berbatov’s spectacular second goal.
With Paul Scholes and Wayne Rooney both picking up worrying injuries last night, Alex Ferguson will be delighted with Ronaldo’s progress.
But the 23-year-old confirmed he is still not 100% and United will not see the best of him until after next month’s international break.
“It will be another two or three weeks before I can give 100%,” he said.
“I feel very good. There is good improvement there and I am very happy to be back.
“But my ankle has still not fully recovered. I still feel it a little bit.
“But the medical staff say that is normal and I feel very confident about the future.” To most pundits’ surprise that future, on an immediate basis at least, will be at Old Trafford.
Almost every observer, including most United fans, felt Ronaldo would end up at Real Madrid this season.
However, not for the first time in his career, Ferguson defied the odds, flying to Portugal for face-to-face discussions with the player that ended with him committing himself to United.
Clearly the bond between Ronaldo and Ferguson is strong, even though long-time assistant Carlos Queiroz, who has become a father figure to the former Sporting Lisbon star, has left to take charge of the Portugal national side.
And Ronaldo is relishing the opportunity of another season at Old Trafford, determined to help United keep hold of their Premier League and Champions League trophies.
“I feel very comfortable,” he said.
“I had my first game a couple of weeks ago against Villarreal and everyone appreciated the way I played.
“I feel very good in the club and I feel very happy. I want to carry on like that.” Meanwhile, Ferguson faces an anxious wait to discover the extent of the damage suffered by Scholes and Rooney at the Energi-Nord Arena.
Scholes was strechered off with what Ferguson thinks is medial knee ligament damage after injuring himself turning sharply, while Rooney is expected to miss Saturday’s trip to Blackburn with an ankle injury that could also sideline him for this month’s World Cup qualifiers against Kazakhstan and Belarus.
“Wayne felt his ankle,” confirmed Ferguson.
“We hope it is not ligament trouble but he is doubtful for Saturday I would imagine ”We do not know exactly how serious Paul’s injury is at this moment in time,“ added the United boss.
“It looks like medial ligament damage, which would be six to eight weeks, which is a bit of a blow.”