Ronaldo will not play for Internazionale in Wednesday’s Champions League tie at Sporting Lisbon – which is sure to raise renewed speculation about a move to Real Madrid before the August 31 transfer deadline.

Inter coach Hector Cuper has said the third qualifying round opener in Portugal is too important a match in which to risk the Brazilian while he remains short of match fitness.

Ronaldo has been training apart from the Inter squad, along with Turkey’s Emre and Okan, after their permitted late return following a post-World Cup holiday.

Uruguay’s Alvaro Recoba is expected to be Christian Vieri’s attacking partner in Lisbon.

Renewed speculation has followed weekend comments from Argentine coach Cuper that he wanted “only players who are happy to be here,” in his team and further media comments from Ronaldo.

Brazil’s World Cup Final match-winner said his problems at Inter concerned style and tactics. He would stay with Inter and score goals for the good of the team, if that was president Massimo Moratti wanted.

However Ronaldo added: “In Spain I know that the lifestyle is closer to the Brazilian way of life and Real Madrid have many great players who make it work for them.”

No further progress, in any direction, appears likely until after the Champions League tie or even later – since Ronaldo will be returning to Brazil for the World Cup Celebration friendly against Paraguay on August 21.
By Keir Radnedge