Madrid:Injured Portugal forward Cristiano Ronaldo sent a passionate message of support to his countrymen prior to their vital final World Cup qualifying match against Malta on Wednesday.
"I want you to know that my heart will be with you at every minute of the match and that, like all the Portuguese, I will be proud of your efforts," he said in a message published on Real Madrid's website.
"I hoped with all my power to be able to fight for Portugal with you but, as you know, an unfortunate injury has prevented me from doing so."
Spanish media reported on Monday that Real had banned Ronaldo from travelling to the group one match in Guimaraes so as not to disrupt his recovery from an ankle injury.
Real club officials did not hide their displeasure after seeing Ronaldo limp out of Portugal's 3-0 victory over Hungary on Saturday after just 27 minutes, claiming the national set-up should not have "forced the player" to play.
The 94 million-euro summer signing had aggravated an ankle sprain he initially sustained in Real's Champions League group match with Marseille at the end of September and is likely to be out for between three and four weeks.