CAMPINAS, Brazil (AP) — Cristiano Ronaldo again wore a brace on his troublesome left knee Friday, triggering a new wave of questions over his health as his Portugal team held its final World Cup training session before departing for a crucial game against the United States.
The reigning world player of the year took part in some light workouts with the first team, followed by stretching. He was smiling and appeared at ease at practice at the team base in Campinas, northwest of Sao Paulo, as he took part in a playful game of keep away from teammates. The team was set to leave later in the day for Manaus for its matchup with the U.S. on Sunday.
Portugal was humiliated in a 4-0 defeat by Germany in their opener. Another loss and the fourth-ranked team in the world could be eliminated even before its final Group G game against Ghana.
Ronaldo has been hampered by tendinitis and a muscle injury since before the tournament, creating plenty of speculation about how he would perform in Brazil.
He was doubtful to play before the Germany game, but declared himself fit and went on to produce a subdued performance that only added to the usual drama and scrutiny surrounding the player.
Team officials dismissed reports suggesting that Ronaldo could be risking his health by playing, saying they were tired of having to deny every rumor about a player many consider to be the world's best. They noted, however, that he often plays with a brace and said he's healthy and would play against the U.S.
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