Football: AROUND THE WORLD: Ronaldo distraught at new injury setback

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The Independent Online

RONALDO IS cursing his luck after a knee injury he sustained on Sunday put him out of action for two months. The Brazilian limped off after scoring a penalty in Internazionale's 6-0 win over Lecce, but tests showed the damage to his tendons was worse than thought and that he will need a month's complete rest.

"I don't know what to say, except that I have frighteningly bad luck," he said. "Nothing is going right for me. There's no peace. I'm very sorry for the Inter fans: now Vieri is coming back and I'll be out of action."

Ronaldo has been plagued by knee injuries over the past two seasons. He played only 11 full matches for Inter last season and has appeared for a full 90 minutes only twice this term.

He has already had one operation on his right knee - in 1996, in the Netherlands - and Italian newspapers yesterday speculated that he might need to have another, although Inter denied the reports.

Meanwhile the fall-out from Sunday's Rome derby between Roma and Lazio continues after it was revealed that police confiscated 69 offensive banners, 45 from Roma tifosi and 24 from Lazio fans.

The match, which Roma won 4-1, has been at the centre of heated debate over banners in recent years. Lazio fans, well-known for their small but active far-right following, have been criticised for displaying neo-Nazi symbols during matches.

Last year some Lazio fans caused outrage in Rome's Jewish community with a huge racist banner displayed during the derby. Rome's Jewish ghetto is in the heart of the city and is traditionally known as a Roma-supporting area.

Other Lazio supporters left their team well aware of the high price of failure after the humiliating defeat. Despite Lazio having led Serie A for most of the season, some 50 supporters vented their fury by disrupting their team's training session yesterday.

The unforgiving fans scaled a perimeter fence at the training ground of the League leaders, reached a second fence close to the touchline of the practice pitch and hurled abuse at the players, an Italian news agency reported.

Lazio's captain, Alessandro Nesta, argued with a group of fans while Roberto Mancini kicked a ball against the fence separating the players from the protesters. After about 20 minutes, the fans were reluctantly persuaded to retreat.

United States

DC UNITED remain the sole modern-day success story in American "soccer". They claimed their third Major League Soccer championship in the league's four-year history on Sunday with a 2-0 win over the Los Angeles Galaxy before a Massachusetts crowd of 44,910.

First-half goals by Jaime Moreno and Ben Olsen gave DC the victory in the rematch between the two sides, who contested MLS's inaugural championship in 1996.

Sadly, what was an appealing fixture on paper was far from entertaining on the field. Despite the unseasonably warm conditions reaching a high of 17C, the rock-hard pitch made it hard for either side to gain control.


ANOTHER SCANDAL has hit the game in Georgia, where a referee, Guram Askarogli, has alleged that a game between the champions, Dynamo Tbilisi, and Lokomotivi - which Dynamo won 2-1 - was fixed by the teams.

Askarogli received a six-month ban for making an incorrect penalty decision during the match, although speculation persists that he has really been punished for his allegations.

The referee alleges it had been agreed Lokomotivi would win and thus qualify for the play-offs, but that the plot went wrong. Both teams deny the allegations, which Valery Cholaria, the general secretary of the Georgian Football Federation, described as "absurd".