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Tottenham not to be fooled by Cristiano Ronaldo's 'hamstring injury'

Tottenham not to be fooled by Cristiano Ronaldo's 'hamstring injury'Tottenham Hotspur are wary of kidology from Real Madrid over the fitness of Cristiano Ronaldo for the Champions League quarter-final first leg at the Bernabéu in two weeks' time.

Harry Redknapp, the Tottenham manager, could not make it to the Spanish capital to watch Real play Atlético in the derby on Saturday night and so he sent his assistants Tim Sherwood and Les Ferdinand.

They watched Ronaldo sparkle in Real's 2-1 win before he came off after 70 minutes. The Portugal forward complained of pain in his hamstring and, according to the Real website, tests showed he was likely to be out for "between two to three weeks, depending on his progress".

"He didn't look like he had a hamstring problem to me," Sherwood said. "It looked like he had two friendly games for Portugal which he might want to get out of."

Ronaldo is set to miss the friendlies against Chile on Saturday and Finland next Tuesday. Real play Sporting Gijón in La Liga before the first leg against Tottenham on 5 April.

"The player who stuck out like a sore thumb [against Atlético] was Ronaldo," Sherwood said. "He is obviously a special talent. You talk about world-class players ... I think it's unfair to put Ronaldo and Lionel Messi in that category because they are out of this world and the rest are world-class."

Sherwood reflected the optimism that has swept Tottenham in the days since the draw. "We never came away from there as quivering wrecks and needing a lie down," he said. "We think there is a real chance that we can impose ourselves on that Real Madrid side.

"The two centre-backs Pepe and [Ricardo] Carvalho and the right-back [Sergio] Ramos get very, very tight and they can get rolled. It's just about getting our best players on the ball in the right areas. If we can do that, then we think we can cause them a few problems.

"We don't want to go out with a whimper. We know we have to be cautious but we cannot be over-cautious. If we continue to take punches all night, we are going to get knocked out. We were really positive coming away from there ... but how can you legislate for Ronaldo dribbling past five players and sticking one in the top corner?"

Powered by Guardian.co.ukThis article was written by David Hytner, for The Guardian on Monday 21st March 2011 22.14 Europe/London

guardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media Limited 2010

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