Sat, Nov 24, 2007 - Page 19 News List

LEGA CALCIO: Ronaldo set to return for Milan



Former three-time World Player of the Year Ronaldo is set to make his first competitive appearance of the season this weekend as he makes his return to the AC Milan squad for the trip to Cagliari.

Milan coach Carlo Ancelotti will be relieved to add the Brazilian forward to his misfiring squad who have yet to win a single one of their six home games in Serie A this season.

While their away form has been impressive, at the San Siro Milan have picked up just four points from a possible 18, the main reason they are languishing down in 11th place and trail champions and leaders Inter Milan by 11 points.

Ronaldo scored seven times in 14 matches last season after joining the Rossoneri from Real Madrid in the January transfer window.

And now he is looking forward to getting back out on the pitch having come through unscathed in an outing in a friendly charity match a few days ago in Malaga Spain, where a team of Ronaldo and friends took on Zindeine Zidane and his pals.

"I feel good even if it wasn't a proper match but rather a show to bring happiness to people," he told Milan's TV channel.

Ronaldo was on the bench for Milan two weeks ago at Atlanta in a match that was called off after just seven minutes due to crowd trouble following the fatal shooting of a Lazio fan by Italian police in the north.

Now Il Phenomeno (the phenomenon) -- as Ronaldo was known when at the peak of his powers, before later being labeled El Gordo (fatty) in Spain when his condition and shape deteriorated -- believes he is ready to play from the start if need be.

"I was ready [at Atlanta]. I was selected in Bergamo because I was ready and now I expect to be picked again because I feel ready to play," he said.

Milan may feel relieved to be playing away from their San Siro troubles having scored five times in their last two trips to Lazio and Sampdoria.

But they are unlikely to close the gap on city rivals Inter, who play at home to Atlanta today.

An Inter victory would stretch their lead over Milan to 14 points, for a day at least.

Fourth-placed Roma also play today as they travel to Genoa but are almost certain to be without talismanic captain Francesco Totti.

He has not played since the Oct. 23 Champions League clash against Sporting Lisbon due to an ankle problem and on Thursday complained of pain in his heel during training.

Roma have been flying without him, though, as Montenegro's Mirko Vucinic has proved an able understudy in the playmaking role.

Second-placed Fiorentina will be looking to bounce back from their first defeat of the season -- 2-1 at home to Udinese -- when they travel to lowly Reggina, who have won only once this season.

Third-placed Juventus entertain Palermo amid speculation about unsettled players, particularly midfielders Tiago and Sergio Almiron, both bought in the summer and both rumored to want out.

In other matches struggling former giants Lazio and Parma meet in Rome, high-flying Udinese entertain Siena and rock bottom Empoli welcome Torino.

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