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Ronaldo: World Cup recall

First Published: Sep 21, 2001

Ronaldo is back in the Brazil squad after coach Luiz Felipe Scolari announced 14 foreign players to train next month ahead of a World Cup qualifier against Chile.

Brazil host Chile on October 6th and Ronaldo could win his 55th cap.

The 24 year old helped Inter to a 3-0 UEFA Cup win last night in his first competitive match since April last year.

Ronaldo is 25 tomorrow and Scolari wants to use him as soon as possible for his struggling national team. Brazil are fighting to keep the last remaining World Cup qualifying place as Colombia and Uruguay find form again. They are level with fifth-placed Uruguay on 24 points with the top four teams going through and the fifth to play off against Australia but Brazil have an easier run in than their rivals.

Ronaldo collapsed in the Coppa Italia final against SS Lazio in April 2000 when he tried to run and turn and went to Paris for his second major knee surgery in a year.

Ronaldo was supervised Dr Gerard Saillant who carried out knee surgery last April on the striker's knee. Saillant also operated on Ronaldo when his knee ligaments were torn at the end of November 1999. Inter received a detailed analysis of how well Ronaldo's fitness is progressing and they have recently intensified his training schedule with good results.

Whether the return of Ronaldo after surgery can lighten the mood in the Brazil squad remains to be seen but his comeback still faces problems.

Medical attention may not have overcome structural problems in the player's body and the fact he played many intense professional games in Europe and for the Brazilian national team at such an early age.

Ronaldo has been an international since the age of 17 and has already made 54 appearances for Brazil. He began his European career with PSV Eindhoven before a sensational two year spell at FC Barcelona that saw him hailed as the world's greatest player. His strike rate at Barcelona was phenomenal as was his speed and physical strength but a move to Inter in 1997 precipitated spells of injury and stress that he has not been able to overcome.

There must be doubts about the player's future because although modern surgery has improved a great deal the physical balance of Ronaldo is harder to correct. The structural fault of his large thighs placing too much strain on his knee joints and muscles seems to have caused part of his injury problems.

In Rome Ronaldo went down with nobody near him and the stress of a serious tackle or foul could do irreparable damage to the knee which may be growing weaker with the regular bouts of surgery.

The expectation for Ronaldo to make a big difference to the side on his return to action may cause problems for the Brazilian who could leave the Milan club at the end of his current contract next year.

Rivaldo is named by Scolari and is currently in Brazil recovering from a knee strain. His progress is better than expected and he could be fit to face Chile. Defender Lucio will miss Bayer's trip to Borussia Dortmund tomorrow with injury but is expected back in training shortly. Scolari will announce the remainder of the squad next week.

The squad so far -

Goalkeeper - Dida (AC Milan).

Defenders - Lucio (Bayer Leverkusen), Edmilson (Lyon), Roberto Carlos (Real Madrid) and Junior (Parma AC).

Midfielders - Emerson (AS Roma), Eduardo Costa (Bordeaux), Marcelinho Paraiba (Hertha Berlin), Denilson (Betis) and Rivaldo (FC Barcelona).

Strikers - Elber (Bayern Munich), Ronaldo (Inter) and Ronaldinho Gaucho (PSG).

Source World Soccer News