Brazilian striker Ronaldo has expressed his pride after overcoming a nine-month battle against injury and agreeing terms with Sao Paulo-based Corinthians.
“I’m proud of myself,” he said in an interview with Brazilian television. “This was never an easy fight at any moment and I’m winning.
“Corinthians believed in me, they have a fantastic project for 2009 and I’m very confident it will be a great year, although I know I will have a lot of difficulties at the start.”
Ronaldo ruptured a tendon in his left knee in a Serie A game playing for Milan against Livorno in February and later left the Italian club.
So demoralised was the former FIFA World Player of the Year, that last month he told Gazzetta dello Sport he doubted whether he would play again.
“If I didn’t believe in myself, I wouldn’t have made this sacrifice,” said Ronaldo, referring to his rehabilitation. “I know it will be difficult to re-adapt but I like football and I believe I still have a lot to offer the game.”
Ronaldo had been widely expected to sign for Flamengo, where he had been training for the last four months, and his move to Corinthians led to supporters of the Rio de Janeiro-based club buring photos of him.
“I understand perfectly,” said Ronaldo. “I spent four months in Rio training at Flamengo but nothing happened, I didn’t receive a project, any ideas, any offer. Corinthians will be an excellent challenge for me.”