Cristiano Ronaldo was again unable to take part in Real Madrid training on Thursday morning, just 48 hours before Saturday’s “must-win” Clasico at home to La Liga leaders Barcelona.

Madrid, the reigning champions, go into the fixture 11 points behind Barca, although having played one game fewer, meaning they really need to win if they are to have any chance of retaining their crown.

Speaking after his match-winning performance in Saturday’s Club World Cup final in Abu Dhabi, Ronaldo said he had felt some pain in his calf following a foul by Gremio captain Geromel early in that game, but added that he was sure he would recover in time for Saturday’s clash at the Bernabeu.

The 32-year-old then missed Tuesday and Wednesday’s training sessions with his teammates and, although Madrid have not issued any specific update on the calf problem or any other potential injury, he was unable to even work with the football on Thursday morning.

“The team have trained at Real Madrid City in continued preparation for the La Liga showdown with Barcelona, to be played at the Santiago Bernabeu this Saturday (1:00 pm CET),” a club statement confirmed.

“Ball work took centre stage in a session which saw [Zinedine] Zidane involve Under-19s goalkeeper Moha. Cristiano Ronaldo trained alone out on the pitch, both with and without the ball, whilst Luca [Zidane] continued his recovery process.”

Madrid coach Zidane has all other 22 senior players fit and ready for Saturday’s game, with Karim Benzema and Sergio Ramos having overcome recent minor problems, and Gareth Bale suffering no apparent ill-effects after featuring as a substitute at the Club World Cup last week.

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