(dpa) - The current and former team presidents of Ronaldo sounded optimistic Thursday about the recovery chances of the injury- prone AC Milan striker from a serious knee injury.
The ANSA newsagency reported that Ronaldo, 31, was to be operated in Paris following the rupture of a ligament in his left knee during a Serie A game against Livorno late Wednesday.
The Brazilian was on crutches when he arrived at the Pitie-Salpetriere hospital, where he asked to be operated on by the team of doctor Gerard Saillant, who eight years ago treated a similar injury in his right knee.
Milan president Silvio Berlusconi said he called Ronaldo "inviting him to believe in himself. He has incredible physical possibilities and I think that in a few months he can again be the champion he is."
Massimo Moratti, the president of Inter Milan where Ronaldo played from 1997 to 2002, wished the striker a prompt recovery.
"Obviously, in moments like this people talk about a risk for his career, as it happened already last time (Ronaldo was operated in 1999 and 2000).
"But he has a strong heart and a strong body. Besides, the doctors know him and he knows that situation, so it should be easy for him.
"I feel sorry for the footballer and mostly for the man. It is terrible to see him again dealing with the same suffering he underwent when he was with us."
Inter's former team doctor Piero Volpi told repubblica.it that Ronaldo's accident is serious, but he will be back playing.
"The rupture of the rotula ligament is a dramatic event for any sportsman," Volpi said. "In 2000, the ligament was repaired surgically and he could play competitively in a year and a half.
"The damage can be repaired. Even more so today as surgical techniques have improved."
Volpi said that a recovery is possible between eight and 10 months after a well carried out surgery. "I wouldn't be pessimistic about Ronaldo's future career. He has time and chances if he'll have the will to face another comeback and be back on the pitch."
Ronaldo Wednesday night fell to the ground holding his knee three minutes after coming on in the second half of a home game his side drew 1-1 with Livorno.
He was stretchered off the pitch in tears and taken to a Milan hospital where tests showed the seriousness of his injury.