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Ronaldo given route back by Corinthians

Corinthians have confirmed they are in talks with the Brazilian striker Ronaldo. Reports in South America suggest he is set to be unveiled as a Corinthians player later this week.

"The Board of Sport Club Corinthians Paulista are negotiating the signing of forward Ronaldo," read a statement on the Brazilian club's website yesterday. "All the details are being sorted out by the president, Andres Sanchez, the director of football, Mario Gobbi Filho, and the director of marketing, Luis Paulo Rosenberg. "In the upcoming hours, the parties should finish the negotiation and set a date to unveil the player," the club added.

The player's agent, Fabiano Farah, expects the former Milan striker to put pen to paper on a Corinthians contract before the weekend.

He said: "There is a verbal agreement. In two days, it will be translated into a contract so Ronaldo can be considered a Corinthians player as soon as possible. Corinthians are being led by very serious people and we are very happy about that."

Corinthians, who have just earned promotion back to the top flight of Brazilian football by winning Serie B, last month played down a move for the ex-Barcelona and Real Madrid frontman, with Sanchez claiming the deal was financially "impossible". It now looks to be only a matter of time before the move is complete, however.

Gobbi Filho said that Ronaldo would sign a one-year contract with the Sao Paulo club. "The only thing I can say in advance is that he has been hired for one year, with an option of one more," the director of football said. "The formal event to unveil him may be on Friday. The contract will be signed shortly. This is a very big marketing movement. It involves companies. It is not so simple."

Rosenberg added: "This is more a marketing agreement than a player signing. That is why I am taking part in this. It will be a very original and profitable business."

Ronaldo is on the brink of a return to football after recovering from a career-threatening knee injury.

The three-times Fifa World Player of the Year sustained the injury 10 months ago while playing for Milan and became a free agent in the summer. He has been training with the Rio de Janeiro side Flamengo since September to return to full fitness.

One of Ronaldo's former Milan team-mates, the midfielder Gennaro Gattuso, has suffered a cruciate ligament injury in his right knee, his club said yesterday. It is thought that the 30-year-old Italy international, who was part of the side that won the World Cup in 2006, could be out for the rest of the season.

Gattuso suffered the injury in Sunday's 1-0 Serie A win at home to Catania and had tests yesterday. "They showed a tear to the anterior cruciate ligament of the right knee," a club statement said.

The tough-tackling midfielder will visit the renowned knee surgeon Marc Martens in Antwerp today for a further consultation before a decision on whether to operate is taken.