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Capello: ‘I was hoping Ronaldo’s injury would be more serious’

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World Cup Qualifying Preview: Northern Ireland - Russia
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World Cup Qualifying Preview: Northern Ireland - Russia

Fabio Capello has confessed he wishes Cristiano Ronaldo was more seriously injured so that his team would not have to defend against him.

The Real Madrid star was originally a doubt for Portugal’s trip to Moscow on Friday after suffering a shoulder injury against Barcelona, but it looks as though he has shaken off the knock he picked up in Sunday’s Clasico. With the former Manchester United forward in outstanding form at the moment, the former Real Madrid boss admitted Russia would have an easier match on their hands without him.

“Honestly speaking, I was hoping that Ronaldo's injury would be more serious,” Capello told reporters on Thursday. “Of course if he didn't play, then it would be much easier for us to defend.”

Capello replaced Dick Advocaat in the summer and will hope to claim all three points in their World Cup 2014 qualifier against the Euro 2012 semifinalists.

“Portugal are a top-notch team and tonight, once again, we'll go over the tactical plans on how to play them,” the Italian coach added. “As for Ronaldo, it's always very difficult to stop him. Every team tries, but it's not so easy. We're going to try to play to the best of our ability in order to neutralise his strengths.”

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