Thursday, February 14, 2008

ATH: Not an Obit, but not good either . . .

Ronaldo's Career Virtually Over

The career of Milan striker Ronaldo is virtually over after it was confirmed that he has completely severed the tendon in his left knee.

Ronaldo collapsed in the penalty area in agony just minutes after coming on as a substitute in tonight’s 1-1 draw with Livorno.

El Fenomeno was stretchered off the pitch in serious distress and he was in a flood of tears. The seriousness of the situation could be seen immediately as the Milan players were clearly shaken up by what they had seen.

Ronaldo was immediately rushed to hospital where tests revealed that he had completely severed the tendon in his left knee.

Milan's head of medicine Jean Pierre Meersseman revealed: "After Ronaldo's injury we decided at once to transfer the player to the Galeazzi hospital in Milan. It is one of the best orthopaedic hospitals in Europe.

"There's little to say about the seriousness of the injury - unfortunately they confirmed that it was a rupture to the tendons of his left knee.

"He will definitely need surgery. We are all distraught at what's happened."

The 31-year-old has already suffered this injury twice before, first in 1998 and then in 2000. In total, these have kept him out of the game for the best part of three years.

Even if he does recover, the kind of rehabilitation that would be required for him to return to action is something his body has not shown. As well, the risk of a relapse given his age and history will be so high that it could be risky for him to attempt a return.

With this in mind, and also considering the fact that reports yesterday suggested that he was already considering retirement at the end of the season, it seems highly likely that the great career of Ronaldo has come to an end.

Fingers are being pointed at Carlo Ancelotti for rushing the player back, but he pleads not guilty.

"No. I do not know what happened, if he played it meant that he was able to play. We are not that crazy," he blasted, putting the focus on those who had cleared him for action.

However, he did admit that his hand was forced somewhat: "We had practically no choice, because Ronaldo and Inzaghi had not yet 90 minutes in their legs, and didn’t have continuity.

“Ronaldo needed work to improve his condition. It was an obvious choice, given the absence of Seedorf, Kakà and Pato.”

"We are all very upset and worried about what happened to Ronaldo," Ancelotti continued. "I don't think I can say that his career is over because only time can tell when his career will end.

"For our part we can only be there for him and stay calm. His team-mates left the stadium in a hurry to go to the hospital and find out his condition. For us to be close to him is useful for him in such a delicate moment in his career.

"On Sunday he didn't play well but yesterday in training he was good, he seemed more alert, with better reactions and more ready.

"It's a pity because we value Ronie a lot, he has always played with great seriousness and great disposition. Ronie has always carried himself very well and has always looked to contribute to Milan."

Earlier, Livorno goalkeeper Marco Amelia had revealed that he had heard a terrible sound. “You can’t understand the noise Ronaldo’s knee made, I heard it though,” Amelia told Sky Sport Italia.

Milan’s Daniele Bonera also revealed that Ronaldo immediately knew that it was serious. “Straight away Ronaldo told us: It’s like last time,” he told Telelombardia.

The finer details will be available over the coming days, but Adriano Galliani had the final word on the night, admitting that the signs were ominous.

“He has already been seen by doctors at the Galleazzi where he was taken, he has a problem with the tendon in his left knee. The extent is not clear because they can’t do a complete diagnosis, he has a serious problem with his tendon,” he told Sky Sport Italia.

Earlier on Wednesday, Ancelotti had declared the player fit, and insisted he knew nothing of the retirement rumours.

"You'd have to ask him [about retirement]," he had said. "He appears fit to me and hasn't said anything else.

“On Sunday, I appreciated Ronie's will to help out, despite the fact that he wasn't in a good condition. If he finds the right conditions, his contract will be renewed.”

Life clearly has its own sense of irony.

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