Ronaldo ruptured a tendon in his right knee during AC Milan's
1-1 draw at home to Livorno on Wednesday and faces nine months on the sidelines,
according to Gazetta dello Sport.
AC Milan confirmed the extent of Ronaldo's injury on their website, which he
suffered just minutes after entering the fray as a second-half substitute and
was taken to hospital.
Gazetta claimed the former three-time world player of the year's career could be
over as well.
"It's an injury that could end the career of 'Il Fenomeno'," it said on its
"The recovery time is dramatic: from nine months to a year."
Milan coach Carlo Ancelotti refused to call time on Ronaldo's career, though.
"We're all very sorry and worried about what happened to Ronaldo, I don't want
to say it's the end of his career because only time can decide whether it is or
not," he said.
"From our part all we can do is stand by him and let him recover. Our players
all left the stadium in a hurry to go to the hospital to check on his condition,
I think that's the right way to stand by a player who's suffering."
Ronaldo was taken to hospital from where Milan's Brazilian scout Leonardo, said
the striker had all but confirmed those worst fears.
"Ronaldo said it was exactly the same thing as last time," said Leonardo,
referring to the time when Ronaldo ruptured the tendon in his right knee in
Ronaldo underwent an X-ray at hospital and Milan's club doctor Jean-Pierre
Messerman later confirmed he had indeed suffered the same injury that inflicted
his right knee eight years ago.
Another doctor, Walter Pascale, however, did have some good news for Ronaldo.
"Surgical tenchniques to repair this kind of injury have improved a lot over the
last eight years," he said.
"If things go as they should he should get back to his best. However it's
difficult at this time to say for how long he will be out."
Ronaldo will go under the knife in Paris on Thursday where he also underwent
surgery in 1999.
He fell awkwardly just three minutes after replacing Alberto Gilardino in the
second half on Wednesday.
He was challenging for a ball in the air with Jose Vidigal, although the move
resulted in a penalty to Milan which Andrea Pirlo converted to level the scores.
"I heard a horrible sound, like a bang, it was a strange sound," said Livorno
goalkeeper Marco Amelia, who was close by when Ronaldo fell to the ground.
The last time Ronaldo suffered the same injury he managed to make his comeback
in April 2000 but lasted only seven minutes before reinjuring his knee.
It was 20 months before he made a proper comeback for the 2002 World Cup, during
which he finished as top scorer as he guided Brazil to a record fifth triumph.
However Ronaldo is now 31 and his contract at Milan runs out at the end of the
He has also been battling an expanding waistline and fitness problems for years
and it is doubtful whether or not, having won everything there is to win in
football - except the Champions League - he will have the motivation to make a
comeback after his 32nd birthday.