Corinthians chance inspires Ronaldo

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Former Brazil striker Ronaldo has revealed the prospect of joining Corinthians has given him the extra motivation he needs to get back to full fitness.

Corinthians confirmed yesterday they are in talks with the three-time Fifa World Player of the Year with a deal likely to be struck before the end of the week.

Ronaldo has been out of action since sustaining a knee injury while playing for AC Milan 10 months ago.

And the 32-year-old is ready to tackle the hard work ahead of him as he battles to return to the pitch.

He told TV Globo: "I am very happy. It will be a big challenge for me, but I will take it because I'm sure everything is going to be all right.

"Corinthians believe in me and have a fantastic project for 2009. I have a lot of confidence in myself."

The injury had threatened to bring Ronaldo's career to a premature end, with Milan opting not to renew his contract when it ran out in the summer.

Despite that, the striker continued his recovery with Flamengo, training with the Rio de Janeiro club from September in a bid to return to fitness.

The talks with Corinthians appear to have injected new life into Ronaldo, who is now determined to prove any doubters wrong.

"I am not asking for patience, but I know the beginning will not be easy," he continued.

"I've already had experience with previous injuries and I think that, in time, I will get used to training again and everything will be normal.

"I am proud of myself. This fight has not been easy at any stage, but I'm managing to get through it.

"I'm sure the beginning will be difficult, but I'm sure I'm going to a big home with a big group of supporters and I will be given everyone's support.

"If I did not believe I could do it, I would not have made this sacrifice.

"I am still a professional footballer, I still like big challenges and I think the Corinthians one is excellent for me. It is a big motivation in my return to football."

Ronaldo has not played in the domestic Campeonato Brasileiro since leaving Cruzeiro for PSV Eindhoven in 1994, but is excited at the prospect of competing in his homeland once more.

"I am very enthusiastic. I was too young when I was at Cruzeiro so being back in Brazilian football will be a new experience," he said.