Cristiano Ronaldo in line for Russian return: Pepe

Updated: 11 October 2012 11:13 IST

Portugal defender Pepe says his team-mate Cristiano Ronaldo is the likelier of the two to overcome injury in time for their crunch World Cup qualifier in Russia on Friday.

Cristiano Ronaldo in line for Russian return: Pepe

Lisbon:

Portugal defender Pepe says his team-mate Cristiano Ronaldo is the likelier of the two to overcome injury in time for their crunch World Cup qualifier in Russia on Friday.

Ronaldo has a shoulder injury and Pepe a thigh strain.

On Wednesday, the pair both took part in their first training sessions since picking up the injuries while helping Real Madrid earn a 2-2 draw with Barcelona at the weekend. Both of them trained alone, however.

"I think Ronaldo has a better chance of playing in the match on Friday than I do, but we both want to be there to help Portugal," said Pepe after his work-out.

The match is a table-topper for European zone Group F, as both Portugal and Russia have two wins from their opening two games.

"It's a big match for us, but not a crucial one. It's always good to beat your main rivals, but avoiding defeat would also be a positive result for us," said Pepe.

Valencia right-back Joao Pereira also reported for international duty nursing a light injury, but was back in full training on Wednesday.

Portugal's 23-man squad was due to fly to Moscow on Wednesday, and will return to Portugal together ahead of a second World Cup qualifier with Northern Ireland in Porto next Tuesday.

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