Milan striker Ronaldo is set to miss the rest of the season after rupturing tendons in his knee during the 1-1 draw with Livorno on Wednesday.
The 31-year-old striker was carried off with an injury to his left knee just three minutes after coming on as a substitute at the San Siro.
Early estimates indicate the Brazilian will be out for between nine months and a year – a potentially career-ending lay-off.
Coach Carlo Ancelotti played down fears the injury could end Ronaldo’s career.
“We are all very upset and worried about what happened to Ronaldo,” Ancelotti said. “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 teammates 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.”
Milan head of medicine Jean Pierre Meersseman confirmed the severity of the player’s injury.
“After Ronaldo’s injury we decided at once to transfer the player to the Galeazzi hospital in Milan,” Meersseman said. “It is one of the best orthopedic 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.”