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 February 14, 2002 | 2130 IST

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Vivas hopes for quick Ronaldo return

Argentina's Nelson Vivas is hoping his Inter Milan team mate Ronaldo will make a quick recovery from injury -- even if that meant a stronger Brazil at the World Cup finals.

"Let's hope he gets back, he's making an enormous sacrifice to do so. He's still suffering from those muscular injuries that luckily aren't the joint (injuries) of before," former Arsenal striker Vivas said on Thursday.

"I hope he returns in good shape and that we can take advantage of him in the final part of the (Italian) championship," he said after playing in Argentina's 1-1 draw with Wales in a friendly in Cardiff on Wednesday.

Inter Milan are gunning for the Serie A title and the UEFA Cup in Vivas's first season in Italy.

Vivas believes Brazil need Ronaldo badly as they bid to pull out of an alarming slump in form in time for their bid to win a fifth World Cup in June.


"They are suffering a period of transition. They have many good players from previous national teams who are old and can't play (internationally) any longer," Vivas said.

"Brazil are trying to find their line-up and their trainer," he said.

Brazil coach Luiz Felipe Scolari is yet to win over Brazilian fans with a pragmatic style that sits at odds with the country's flamboyant soccer traditions.

Vivas added that Brazil's problems have nothing to do with the fact that most of their players are based in Europe "where the game is more mechanical" and find it difficult to re-adapt to the South American style.

"This has actually favoured us (Argentina) because international experience raises your profile, it makes you progress. You add that experience to our philosophy (of football) and you get a positive result," he said.

Vivas did not include Brazil among his favourites for the World Cup and believes three times winners Italy are the dark horses.

"Apart from us, Italy and France (can win the World Cup). The path Italy have to reach the final and the players they have means they have to be considered one of the candidates," he said.

Argentina face England, Nigeria and Sweden in the World Cup finals group stage while Italy have been drawn against Ecuador, Croatia and Mexico.

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