|Rediff India Abroad Home | All the sections|
Milan's Ronaldo back in squad
November 06, 2007 12:44 IST
Brazilian Ronaldo [Images] has been included in the AC Milan squad for the first time this season for Tuesday's UEFA Champions League trip to Shakhtar Donetsk.
The former Real Madrid striker missed the start of the season because of a niggling leg problem.
The 31-year-old, cup-tied when Milan claimed the Champions League last term, is finally fit for a place in the squad but his chances of starting look remote after his lengthy layoff.
However, his return to fitness is still a much-needed boost for Milan, who have endured a woeful start to the campaign.
One of their main problems has been the main striker, Alberto Gilardino or Filippo Inzaghi, becoming isolated from a deep midfield with only Kaka [Images] offering a bridge.
The option of playing Ronaldo up front alongside the in-form Gilardino could tempt Carlo Ancelotti if Milan need a goal in the second half in Ukraine.
The European champions drew 0-0 with Torino on Saturday. They have not won at home in the league this season with their 2-1 win over Benfica in their opening Group D game and a 4-1 victory over Shakhtar two weeks ago their only successes at San Siro.
In between they lost 2-1 at Celtic in a game which will be remembered for goalkeeper Dida feigning injury after being touched by a fan on the pitch.
Dida was originally given a two-match ban by UEFA but the suspension was halved on appeal meaning the Brazilian will return on Tuesday.
Captain Paolo Maldini, 39, has been used sparingly since recovering from knee surgery last month but is included in the squad.
Milan and Shakhtar lead Group D with six points from three games and a victory for either side could be a big step towards knockout stage qualification, especially if Celtic and Benfica only draw in Glasgow.
Shakhtar troubled Milan for long periods the last time out despite losing 4-1, with Italy [Images] striker Cristiano Lucarelli using his knowledge of the opponents to score one and go close on a number of other occasions.
Brazilian trio Brandao, Jadson and Ilsinho also worried Milan, raising expectations that the big-spending Ukrainians could qualify from the group stage for the first time.
Romanian coach Mircea Lucescu, who coached Milan's city rivals Inter for part of the 1998-99 season, criticised his side for showing a lack of application at San Siro but he will want them to show off their flowing attacking play at home.
Milan: 1-Dida; 44-Massimo Oddo, 13-Alessandro Nesta, 3-Paolo Maldini, 4-Kakha Kaladze; 8-Gennaro Gattuso 10-Clarence Seedorf, 21-Andrea Pirlo, 23-Massimo Ambrosini; 22-Kaka, 11-Alberto Gilardino.
Shakhtar Donetsk: 30-Andriy Pyatov; 5-Olexander Kucher, 27-Dmytro Chygrynskiy, 26-Razvan Rat, 11-Ilsinho; 33-Darijo Srna, 7-Fernandinho, 8-Jadson, 18-Mariusz Lewandowski; 25-Brandao, 99-Cristiano Lucarelli
Referee: Pieter Vink (Netherlands)
UEFA Champions League 2007-08: The Complete Coverage