Ronaldo saw in the New Year wearing Flamengo colours — the club that wants him to return home after 1 5 years of endless wandering around Europe. “Out of the question; he is finishing his contract here,” insists Milan vice-president Adriano Galliani. “I have never entered into negotiations with Flamengo and don’t intend to,” replies Ronaldo, who earns EUR 500,000 a month in Milan. “My contract will be expiring in the summer. 1 would very much like to prolong it and Milan would too. But I’ll have to earn that by performing well.”
Time could be running out, as he kept suffering from recurrent thigh problems in the early matches of the second part of the season, confirming fears that he is an obsolescent model who is too unfit to keep pace with the rhythm of modern football. Whereas Achilles feared his heel, Ronaldo fears his thigh. It is not particularly noticeable because yet another Brazilian is causing a furore at the Giuseppe Meazza Stadium in addition to Kaka — Alexandre Pato.
“Ronaldo will continue to perform well for years; I’ve no doubt about that,” rhapsodised the 18-year-old wonder boy, who netted three goals in his first four games, rather naively about his lifelong idol. “Pato will become the new Ronaldo,” remarked Kaka for his part. People often make comparisons with bygone heroes. Kaka casually remarked that it would not hurt Ronaldo if he went to bed a little earlier, like himself from time to time.
Berlusconi, for his part, has predicted a brilliant career for Ronaldo until the age of 40. At present, no-one seems to know where that will happen. One thing is for sure: the Brazilian is currently a divisive influence on the AC Milan squad. Some worship him like a messiah whereas others regard him as a pathological enigma. A few weeks ago, coach Ancelotti put it in a nutshell. “Today, he can’t play. And tomorrow? No idea. With him you have to plan from day to day.”