Real Madrid may risk Cristiano Ronaldo in Tottenham tie

Cristiano Ronaldo
Ronaldo has scored 37 goals in all competitions for Real this season

Cristiano Ronaldo has been included in Real Madrid's squad for the Champions League quarter-final first-leg tie against Tottenham on Tuesday.

The Portugal forward had been a doubt for the match with a thigh injury, with Real boss Jose Mourinho suggesting the 26-year-old would miss the match.

But Ronaldo trained on Monday and Mourinho said: "If Cristiano plays, it is because he and I risk it."

Kaka and Marcelo are also included in the squad, but Karim Benzema is out.

The France striker sustained a thigh injury on international duty last week and missed the 1-0 defeat by Sporting Gijon on Saturday, Mourinho's first home league loss for nine years, covering his spells at Porto, Chelsea, Inter Milan and now Real.

The in-form Benzema has scored 12 goals in his previous 12 games for Real while Ronaldo has 37 in all competitions this season.

The world's most expensive footballer, who missed two international friendlies for Portugal last week, came through Monday's training session unscathed, prompting Mourinho to take a gamble and add him to his 19-man squad.

Full-back Marcelo also picked up a rib injury on international duty with Brazil, while compatriot Kaka has not played for Real since 26 February because of a knee problem.

Mourinho had said previously the duo, alongside Ronaldo, would not be available until this Saturday, when Real play Athletic Bilbao.

But all three could feature in the first-leg match against Spurs as the Champions League becomes a bigger priority for Real following their surprise loss to Gijon, their first defeat at the Bernabeu for 25 matches.

"We can't think about Saturday's game [against Bilbao], we need to think about the Champions League," said Mourinho.

"It's a game many want to play in and not everyone can. It's been several years since Real Madrid have played in the quarter-finals of the Champions League.

"It's a game in the most important club competition in the world and there's no lack of motivation. It's a match that is too nice and too important to think about other things. I give the match a 10 (out of 10) for importance."

Mourinho had said that the domestic league would be "lost" if his side were beaten on Saturday and the defeat means they now trail La Liga leaders Barcelona by eight points.

Real have been boosted by the sooner-than-expected return of striker Gonzalo Higuain following back surgery.

The Argentina striker came on as a 57th-minute substitute to face Gijon on Saturday, the first time he has featured since November.

"His recovery is a positive surprise because we thought he may miss up to the final 15 games of the season and having him is important," Mourinho had said on Friday.

"Not even with the best estimate would we expect him to return to playing so soon. We're very happy."

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