Ronaldo’s Turbulent Year
On 30 January 2007, Ronaldo moved from Real Madrid to AC Milan for EUR 7.5 million after long and tough negotiations. The player departed after arguments with coach Fabio Capello, who had fielded him in only seven league matches in the first part of the season. His team-mate Ruud van Nistelrooy commented: “Whether completely fit or not, Ronnie is the best person I have ever played with.”
Ronaldo debuted with AC Milan on 11 February 2007. In the following match, he scored two goals in their 4-3 victory over Siena, reaffirming his reputation for always finding the net with his new dub during his second official game.
The Inter fans subjected Ronaldo to merciless whistling in the local derby on 11 March. Although he opened the score for AC, Inter finally won 2-1. By the end of the season, the Brazilian had netted seven goals in 14 games. Ronaldo injured himself during a public training session at the team’s official presentation at the San Siro on 31 July-ostensibly only a pulled muscle in the left thigh. On 10 September, AC Milan’s medical team admitted it had been the wrong diagnosis; it was, in fact, a torn muscle, not a sprain. “I’ve no idea when I’ll be able to play again,” muttered an exasperated Ronaldo. Four months later, Ronaldo made his comeback against Cagliari on 25 November. Only three days later, while warming up before the Champions League match against Benfica, he injured his thigh again, requiring yet another few weeks of rest.
“I feel very fit,” said Ronaldo on 12 December. “I’ll be there for the Club World Cup.” Shortly afterwards, he was struck off the players’ list. “His problem is psychological, not physical,” opined club president Silvio Berlusconi. Ronaldo was seen filming AC Milan’s final victory over Boca Juniors in Yokohama. Earlier this year, Ronaldo and AC Milan denied rumours of a move to top Brazilian club Flamengo, even though some of the board would welcome the idea. On 13 January 2008, the striker was finally in action again for his team, scoring a brace in their 5-2 triumph against Napoli. “Ronaldo will still be going strong at 40,” enthused Berlusconi.
On 26 January, Ronaldo injured his thigh yet again and sat out the following matches. “When is he planning to return? I’ve no idea,” mused coach Carlo Ancelotti. Ronaldo’s contract is due to expire on 30 June 2008.