Ronaldo eyes Flamengo stint before Milan return

April 8, 2008

MILAN, April 8 (Reuters) - Brazilian forward Ronaldo may use a stint at Flamengo to boost his fitness before returning to Italian side AC Milan.

The three-times World Player of the Year was linked to a permanent move to the Rio de Janeiro club he supported as a child before suffering a career-threatening knee injury in February.

'I have a beautiful relationship with my team (Milan), the doors will always be open for me there, but I have to be up to it,' Ronaldo told Tuesday's La Gazzetta dello Sport.

'The idea is to play in Brazil for a few months, maybe at Flamengo, and if everything goes well, reappear in red and black (of Milan).'

Milan have said they will support Ronaldo through the recovery process, which is expected to take at least seven more months. However, the Serie A side have yet to commit to a renewal of the player's contract, which expires at the end of the season.

Ronaldo said he had a 'huge desire' to return to soccer and that he could not imagine life without it.

'There is still a long way to go. Perhaps it'll be four months before I can start running, but the recovery will be quicker than last time,' he added.

Ronaldo suffered a similar injury in his right knee when playing for Inter Milan in 2000.

The 31-year-old also denied speculation that drugs he was given when playing for Dutch club PSV Eindhoven between 1994 and 1996 may have contributed to injuries later in his career.

'Many talk about anabolic steroids they are said to have given me to grow. None of all this (is true),' he said.

He also stuck up for Manchester United's Cristiano Ronaldo, whom AS Roma's David Pizarro accused of using his skills to mock the Serie A side in the Champions League quarter-final first leg.

The Brazilian said his namesake's moves were not disrespectful to opponents and were aimed at shaking off markers.

'What's more, I'm in favour of joyful football,' he added.