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Cristiano Ronaldo has been playing with a heavy knee injury that has 'no cure' since 2014 according to a fascinating Twitter thread.
The five-time Ballon d'Or winner continues to break records galore and recently became the highest-scoring international goalscorer in history when he moved past Iran's Ali Daei.
However, ahead of his second debut with Manchester United, Twitter user @LLF_14 has made extraordinary claims that the forward has been playing with a knee condition called 'tendinosis' since 2014 - which has no cure.
Ronaldo made his name at Old Trafford as a skilful winger with blistering pace and trickery but returns as a moments player who comes alive in the box.
The switch in position and playing style, it seems, has come about as a result of the chronic knee problem.
The injury is described as 'degeneration' rather than 'inflammation' which means the Portuguese international's knee condition will worsen every time he uses it.
The comprehensive thread looks at when Ronaldo first started suffering from the issue, with quotes from himself, as well as how he has had to play through the pain and adapt his game.
THREAD— LLF (@LLF_14) September 9, 2021
In early 2014, Cristiano Ronaldo was diagnosed with a chronic knee condition called tendinosis. It's a heavy injury that has no guatenteed cure and gets worse over time. pic.twitter.com/xNT2QSfunG
This injury is responsible for Cristiano's rapid physical decline at 29, not his age. pic.twitter.com/FcI4swwhcW— LLF (@LLF_14) September 9, 2021
2. Explanation of Left Patellar Tendinosis— LLF (@LLF_14) September 9, 2021
You're going to quickly learn 4 things to understand the injury.
A | Location of injury
B | Tendons
C | Tendinitis (first stage of injury, curable)
D | Tendinosis (final stage of injury, chronic)
A | Location of Injury— LLF (@LLF_14) September 9, 2021
"Left Patellar Tendinosis" means tendinosis at the patellar tendon in the left knee. pic.twitter.com/DSikmdVeCu
B | Tendons— LLF (@LLF_14) September 9, 2021
Tendons are basically tough, fibrous cords of collagen that attach muscle to bone.
Here's a simple diagram to understand 👇
White = tendons pic.twitter.com/lqAbCkumSp
C | Tendinitis (first stage of the injury) is an acutely inflamed swollen tendon. It causes pain, swelling and a burning feeling in the knee.— LLF (@LLF_14) September 9, 2021
It is caused by an overuse of the tendon, so it can really happen to any footballer since this sport is very demanding on the knees. pic.twitter.com/oV9pkJnWAu
D | Tendinosis (what Ronaldo has) is an evolved form of tendinitis, which is a chronic degeneration, scarring, hardening, and thickening of the tendons.— LLF (@LLF_14) September 9, 2021
This causes many problems such as pain, swelling, tenderness and most importantly, a loss of flexibility in the knee. pic.twitter.com/ICn2dSVRZc
3. Recovery— LLF (@LLF_14) September 9, 2021
So what could Cristiano have done once the injury evolved into tendinosis? There's no guarenteed cure but 80% of people fully recover from tendinosis after 8 months of rest. Some sources even say 3-6 months is enough if you start right away with optimal treatment.
4. The Most Important Part of This Thread.— LLF (@LLF_14) September 9, 2021
Cristiano Ronaldo CONFIRMS that he DID NOT REST when he had the chance in order to not miss the World Cup, and he decided to "live with the pain" for the rest of his career. 👇 pic.twitter.com/9IGr4amNCy
"Either you stop for two or three months, or you learn to live with the pain."— LLF (@LLF_14) September 9, 2021
"I can endure the pain because I think there's something stronger."
"Maybe if I didn't feel the pain, maybe I wouldn't be as good as I am." pic.twitter.com/hMp07yLVco
"I have no doubt that the World Cup made my injury WORSE." 💔— LLF (@LLF_14) September 9, 2021
"I don't feel any improvement in my injury" 💔
"I could have recovered by now." 💔
"If I could go back, I WOULDN'T have gone to the World Cup." 💔💔💔 pic.twitter.com/21u6u15UNb
Lionel Messi is a great human being. He asked Ronaldo about his injury to check on him.— LLF (@LLF_14) September 9, 2021
So to quickly refresh your memory, Ronaldo first had tendinitis and then it evolved into tendinosis. We don't know the exact time he had either one, but we do know that they must be spaced out (by weeks/months) because Tendinosis evolves from tendinitis.— LLF (@LLF_14) September 9, 2021
The medical report on tendinosis only came out on June 3, 2014 so he must've had tendinitis at least weeks before that (probably in March, April or May, but maybe even before).— LLF (@LLF_14) September 9, 2021
[Real Madrid vs Rayo | 29 MAR 2014]— LLF (@LLF_14) September 9, 2021
This is the earliest footage I've found of him possibly having a knee injury this season. He missed the next 2 league games because of it. It was recorded as a "muscle fiber tear" on TM though. pic.twitter.com/um1A6knYGY
This could've been the exact moment he got tendinitis, which then after 2 months it had evolved into tendinosis. That would make perfect sense, but that doesn't necessarily mean its true. pic.twitter.com/o4FNeBZnFc— LLF (@LLF_14) September 9, 2021
Cristiano has NOT been normal after that Bayern game. I believe that's the last game he played before tendinosis clearly affected him.— LLF (@LLF_14) September 9, 2021
But it could have been a few games before or after that, who knows? I'm sticking with the Bayern game based on my own judgement. pic.twitter.com/68hMiib58e
6. More Evidence of him struggling with the knee after the 2014 WC.— LLF (@LLF_14) September 9, 2021
Just before we actually get into that, I'd like to go over (in full detail) the adductor problems that he had at the same time as his knee injury. They are relevant.
He had adductor problems at the same time as tendinosis, as we know from the Portuguese medical report. I think there's a strong correlation between the two because he's had them both at the same time all the way from March to September, as you'll see later on. pic.twitter.com/TvGXF5dIws— LLF (@LLF_14) September 9, 2021
Then, in 14/15 he missed 2 games early into the season due to "thigh problems", and we also know he had tendinosis at this time:— LLF (@LLF_14) September 9, 2021
• [Sociedad vs Madrid | 31 AUG 2014]
• [Portugal vs Albania | 9 SEP 2014]
He's been struggling all the way from March to September with the lower part of his left thigh and with his knee, although his knee problems continue to trouble him even today. pic.twitter.com/e9c5swQ2l7— LLF (@LLF_14) September 9, 2021
Ronaldo's 2014 World Cup campaign began on June 16th, 13 days after the official medical report on the tendinosis (June 3rd). This is even more proof that he didn't rest his knee and played through the injury in the World Cup. He also confirmed it himself as you already saw.— LLF (@LLF_14) September 9, 2021
[INDEPENDENT | 28 JUN 2014 ]— LLF (@LLF_14) September 9, 2021
After being eliminated from the World Cup, Ronaldo was asked whether his knee had improved with treatment.
“It ended exactly like it began” he responded. pic.twitter.com/YVnw6WDXHQ
[ESPN | 9 OCT 2014]— LLF (@LLF_14) September 9, 2021
Ronaldo: "If I had stopped I would have been fine. I did not want to miss the final of the Champions League or the World Cup. I was not fully fit, but I forced the issue. On a club level it went well. We won, I scored and the team achieved La Decima." pic.twitter.com/nvkDNcytnb
[ESPN | 11 OCT 2014]— LLF (@LLF_14) September 9, 2021
Ronaldo was subbed off at the 76th minute vs France and iced his knee. pic.twitter.com/xqJDxA8o7f
[22 OCT 2014]— LLF (@LLF_14) September 9, 2021
Cristiano Ronaldo was subbed off at the 75th minute against Liverpool in the UCL, and iced the same knee again. pic.twitter.com/qzbAnEnUPW
[MARCA | 26 FEB 2015]— LLF (@LLF_14) September 9, 2021
Cristiano Ronaldo spent 4 hours in the Valdebebas gym training. He worked with his physios so he can play until the end of the season without knee problems.
Also, his left knee was fully put to the test before returning to the physios for a little TLC. pic.twitter.com/2z1XP93gA3
[beIN SPORTS | 3 NOV 2015]— LLF (@LLF_14) September 9, 2021
Real Madrid attacker Cristiano Ronaldo says he has not been pain-free for quite some time as the knee injury that troubled him toward the end of the 2013-14 campaign continues to cause problems.
Cristiano: "There is not a single day without pain." pic.twitter.com/5GqOKCZXkc
[SKY SPORT ITALIA | 18 NOV 2019]— LLF (@LLF_14) September 9, 2021
When Sarri was asked about Ronaldo's fitness, he reponded:
"I haven't spoken to him yet about the pain in his knee." pic.twitter.com/Jju1vEUaLM
[GOAL | 16 MAY 2020]— LLF (@LLF_14) September 9, 2021
Chiellini praises Ronaldo's performance in the UCL.
He said: "Cristiano is doing well even though he had that knee problem that slowed him down" pic.twitter.com/pRoy5H1mCw
[SKY SPORTS | 9 SEP 2014]— LLF (@LLF_14) September 9, 2021
Spanish football expert, Guillem Balague, spoke about the injury to Sky Sports and Madrid’s medical staff are worried that the injury will require their star player to feature in less games this season [14/15]. pic.twitter.com/nZMBCfsVYw
Here's Cristiano Ronaldo's sudden & rapid decline immediately following the Bayern game in dribbling and long range shooting. pic.twitter.com/eOdoEx1ci5— LLF (@LLF_14) September 9, 2021
I've compared his 13/14 season to his 14/15 season. However I stopped the 13/14 season after the Bayern game (April 29th) and counted the last few games of the season with the 14/15 season.— LLF (@LLF_14) September 9, 2021
So technically he played more games on the right side of the picture, but still did worse
And also beyond goals, you can go and watch some of his dribbling on YT in both seasons and compare them yourself. He had some good dribbles in 14/15, but far less than in 13/14.— LLF (@LLF_14) September 9, 2021
I don't want to post the footage since Twitter is very strict with their copyright rules.
This was a remake of that thread. I hope now you understand the struggles Ronaldo has been going through since the end of 2013/14 with his left knee. pic.twitter.com/dH8mnZDPSf— LLF (@LLF_14) September 9, 2021
Still, Ronaldo remains in incredible physical shape and after signing a two-year contract for a second stint at United, he's hungry for more titles.
He told the official Manchester United website: "I'm not here for a vacation [...] Before was good, winning important things and I wore the shirt before many years ago.
"But I'm here to win again. I'm capable, me and my teammates. I'm ready to go. It's a good chance for me, for the supporters, for the club, to get one step ahead.
"I think I will be a huge thing in the next three or four years."