Ronaldo to stay one more year: Inter chief

MILAN, Reuters

Inter Milan president Massimo Moratti says Brazilian World Cup winner Ronaldo will play one more season for the Italian club before leaving — despite the player’s desire to quit the Serie A side.

“Do you want to know how this story is going to end? Ronaldo will play one more year for us, against his will, and then he will leave whether we win something or not. Just watch,” said Moratti in an interview with the daily Gazzetta dello Sport published on Tuesday.

It was not clear whether the interview took place before or after Ronaldo made his clearest statement yet that he wanted to end his time in Milan.

“What is certain is that I want to leave. I have my reasons and the club knows what they are. But there’s no need to make them public,” Ronaldo said in Brazil where he is preparing for a friendly game against Paraguay on Wednesday.

Ronaldo joined Inter from Barcelona before the 1997/1998 season but has played little in the last three seasons due to a series of injuries. His contract runs until 2006.

There were reports last season that Ronaldo and Inter’s Argentine coach Hector Cuper had a strained relationship although Cuper has denied that there has been any dispute between the two.

Should Ronaldo be forced to return to Inter he is likely to be treated with disdain by Inter supporters.

The fans are furious that after being supported through his injury plagued years, the Brazilian wants to leave Inter in the wake of his World Cup success with Brazil.

Spanish club Real Madrid have been constantly linked with a move for the striker and Moratti recently confirmed that there had been contact with Real.

Ronaldo has frequently referred to Moratti as a “father figure” but the rapport with the Inter president has not surprisingly soured in recent weeks.

“He thought that he might be behaving like a son who doesn’t want to work with his father any more, but Ronaldo is not my son. He has disappointed me that is for sure,” said Moratti.

The Inter president said that after being without the Brazilian for much of the past three seasons his absence would not make a huge impact on the club.

“Unfortunately we are used to his absence and not having won three titles and five European Cups his departure won’t be such a torture,” added Moratti.