Three-time former world footballer of the year Ronaldo has
shelved thoughts about playing again and is focused on the lengthy and testing
physiotherapy sessions needed to recuperate his injured left knee.
The 31-year-old AC Milan striker underwent surgery at the Pitie-Salpetriere
hospital in Paris last week on the tendon ruptured while playing for his club
against Livorno in Serie A action.
It was the latest in a series of knee injuries that have affected his glittering
career, which has seen him established as top World Cup goal scorer.
“My heart tells me to play again but my body is sending me signs of fatigue and
suffering,” said Ronaldo, who was due to be released from hospital on Friday but
will remain in Paris for two further weeks before returning to Milan.
“It has been a real knock-out blow, both physically and mentally,” he admitted
speaking in Portuguese and Italian, with Milan sports director Leonardo
“I still don’t know how it happened. I still mustn’t think about playing again.
I must focus for the moment on undergoing the best physio possible. This will be
“If I’m okay at the end of that, then of course I’ll play again. If there’s
another ending, it will be a difficult and sad decision. I know exactly the
bridges I have to cross. I have experience of recuperating from injury.”
According to Professor Yves Catonne, head of orthopedic and sports surgery at
the Pitie-Salpetriere hospital, Ronaldo will likely have to wait five to six
months before jogging and eight months before touching a ball again.
The surgeon who carried out the operation, Professor Eric Rolland, spelt out in
detail what lies ahead for Ronaldo on the long road to full fitness.
“He’s going to have to keep the protection on his right leg in place and walk
with crutches for at least a month and a half to ensure the scar tissue is solid.
“He’ll be able to put his foot on the ground but he’ll have to be careful not to
make a sudden movement.
“After that we can look at fitting something more flexible if his knee allows it.
In terms of being able to run he won’t be able to do that for four and a half to
Ronaldo, the all-time leading scorer in World Cup finals with 15 goals, ruptured
his left knee tendon playing for Milan in a 1-1 Serie A draw against Livorno on
“Anything can happen in the next three months because surgery is not an exact
science. It will all depend on the rehabilitation,” Rolland said.
“We’ll have a first check-up in three months and another in six months. From a
medical point of view, we’ll stay cautious for six months,” he added.
“The recovery will not depend on Ronaldo for the first six months. It will all
depend on him afterwards. Psychologically, he is a remarkable man.”
Ronaldo sustained two serious injuries to his right knee while playing for Inter
Milan in 1999 and 2000 but recovered to help Brazil win the 2002 World Cup,
scoring both goals in their 2-0 win over Germany in the final.
He went on to play for Real Madrid before joining AC Milan in Jan. 2007.
He hardly featured this season because of a series of injuries and the Champions
League holders have yet to commit to a new contract.
“The club will always be by his side,” Leonardo said. Ronaldo played down the
issue, saying: “I don’t think it’s the right time to talk about a new contract.”