Four months into his remarkable return to football, Ronaldo is getting
used to winning titles again.
The veteran striker helped Corinthians clinch the Brazilian Cup on
Wednesday, lifting his second trophy in a row since recovering from the
third serious knee injury of his career.
Ronaldo had already won the traditional Sao Paulo state title with
Corinthians in May, and Wednesday's win caps off the striker's
successful comeback to competitive football.
'I have to be thankful. My return to football has really been fantastic,'
Ronaldo said. 'I couldn't imagine things would happen like this.'
Although he is yet to reach the form that made him a three-time world
player of the year, Ronaldo has been key for Corinthians since debuting
with the popular Brazilian club in March.
He has scored 11 goals, including decisive ones in the final of the Sao
Paulo state championship and in the first leg of the Brazilian Cup final
two weeks ago in Sao Paulo, when Corinthians won 2-0. Ronaldo didn't
score Wednesday in the 2-2 draw in Porto Alegre, but set up the team's
'It was a great final,' Ronaldo said. 'This group showed a lot of
strength, it deserved this title.'
The victory adds another trophy to Ronaldo's long list of triumphs,
which include the 1994 and 2002 World Cups with Brazil. He also was
extremely successful at club level in Europe, winning trophies with PSV
Eindhoven, Barcelona, Inter Milan and Real Madrid.
Wednesday's victory also gave Corinthians a berth in next year's Copa
Libertadores, Latin America's most important club competition and the
team's main objective for next year. It could end up helping persuade
Ronaldo to extend his contract with the club past the end of 2009.
'Lets see how it goes, but the tendency is to stay, I think we are
headed that way,' Ronaldo said.
Corinthians president Andre Sanches said it's very likely the
32-year-old star will remain at the club for 2010.
'Everything is going as planned,' Sanches said. 'So automatically, we
are halfway through to adding another year to his contract. Ronaldo is
happy to be playing with Corinthians and we are happy to have him here.'
Ronaldo signed with Corinthians in December 2008 despite doubts he would
never recover from the knee injury he sustained with AC Milan in
February of that year.
Ronaldo has said one of his main objectives since returning from the
injury is to regain his form and make the national team in time for the
2010 World Cup in South Africa, which would be his fifth.
If he decides to stay with Corinthians to play in the Copa Libertadores,
his chances to impress coach Dunga may increase. Ronaldo has not been
summoned since Brazil's elimination in the 2006 World Cup.
For now, though, Ronaldo and Corinthians will return their focus to the
Brazilian league, in which the team is sixth in the 20-team standings
with 11 points from eight matches. Corinthians is trying to win its
fifth Brazilian league title. It next faces Fluminense at Pacaembu