Wednesday, November 21, 2012

21 November 1999 - Ronaldo's Black-And-Blue Period Begins

On 21 November 1999, Inter striker Ronaldo suffered a severe knee injury against Lecce that derailed his career for almost three years.

The 1997 Ballon d'Or winner was in his third season with Inter after moving from Barcelona. He had had an outstanding first season, scoring 39 goals in 56 appearances across all competitions, but his form dropped in the second, with a total of 15 goals.

He appeared to be back to his old self at the start of the 1999-2000 season, scoring five times in his first eleven appearances. The fifth goal came against Lecce in Inter's tenth league match of the season--he scored from the penalty spot in the 49th minute to put Inter up 5-0 en route to a 6-0 victory. But shortly after scoring, he ruptured a tendon in his right knee.

After an intense five-month rehabilitation period, Ronaldo returned to the pitch in April for the Coppa Italia final against Lazio, but re-injured his knee after only seven minutes. He missed the remainder of that season, the entire 2000-01 season and part of the 2001-02 season.

He went through another lengthy rehab period and recovered in time to help Brazil win the 2002 World Cup. The same year, he claimed his second Ballon d'Or.

Unfortunately for Ronaldo, his history of knee injuries was not over. In 2008, while playing for AC Milan, he ruptured a tendon in his left knee, forcing another long layoff, though he again recovered and played for Corinthians between 2009 and 2011 before finally retiring.

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