Real Madrid superstar Cristiano Ronaldo will play no part in Saturday’s Clasico against Barcelona in Miami—part of the 2017 International Champions Cup—for personal reasons.
Relevent Sports is the company responsible for organising the International Champions Cup, and chairman Charlie Stillitano told Michelle Kaufman of the Miami Herald that Ronaldo will not feature in the Clasico:
“Unfortunately, Ronaldo’s personal commitments precluded him from being here.
“He really wanted to be here. This is not a diva situation. He was hoping that he could make it. He waited until today to let us know, but it just didn’t work out.
“Mr. Ross did everything possible to get him here. And Cristiano said he was very grateful for that. I’m extremely disappointed, but we still have the two best teams and the top stars minus one.”
Stillitano was referring to RSE Ventures founder and Miami Dolphins owner Stephen Ross, who was another leading figure in bringing the event to Hard Rock Stadium.
That being said, Kaufman added that the powers behind Saturday’s Clasico were still working to have Ronaldo present at the duel, pulling out all the stops for the four-time Ballon d’Or winner if necessary:
ESPN.co.uk reported that Ronaldo, who became a father to twins this summer—his second and third children after son Cristiano Jr.—isn’t expected to return to training until August 5 and is scheduled to appear in court on Monday to testify against accusations of tax evasion.
The Portugal captain has not featured throughout Real’s pre-season tour of the United States, and Arango added the chances he is match fit were low.
Ronaldo was a starring figure for Real as they marched to a second UEFA Champions League crown in as many seasons in 2016-17 before helping Portugal finish third at this summer’s Confederations Cup.
Off-pitch matters have undoubtedly played a hand in dictating Ronaldo’s availability—or lack thereof—for pre-season fixtures, and he’s set to miss the biggest of the bunch on Saturday.