Tottenham suspect Cristiano Ronaldo ‘injury’ is a tactical ploy

SPURS coach Tim Sherwood has revealed his scepticism about Cristiano Ronaldo’s supposed hamstring injury, suggesting that it may be a ploy to avoid two friendlies with Portugal, and surprise Tottenham at the Bernabeu.

Ex-Lilywhites captain Sherwood was in Madrid on Saturday along with Les Ferdinand, on a scouting mission for Harry Redknapp.

The pair watched Real’s 2-1 victory over Atletico Madrid in La Liga, and were interested observers as Ronaldo limped off after 72 minutes, when Jose Mourinho’s Galacticos were 2-0 up.

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

Sherwood admits that Ronaldo is by far the biggest threat to Spurs in the Champions League quarter-finals.

However, the 42-year-old coach has returned to England with good news, and a genuine belief that Tottenham can overcome the nine-times European champions over two legs.

“The player who stuck out like a sore thumb was Ronaldo,” he said. “He is obviously a special talent. You talk about world-class players but 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.

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“But we didn’t come away from there as quivering wrecks and needing a lie down. We think there is a real chance that we can impose ourselves on that Real Madrid side.

“Atletico had a lot of shots at goal. They created more chances than Real Madrid did on the night, even though they lost the game. [Sergio] Aguero was giving them real problems getting on the ball in and around the box.

“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 all about getting our best players and our most effective 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?”