RIO DE JANEIRO (XINHUA) – Brazilian football great Ronaldo said that injuries improved him as a person and as a footballer, despite cutting short his career at the elite level.
The two-time World Cup winner was at the peak of his powers when he suffered two serious knee injuries in the space of five months while playing for Inter Milan either side of the new millennium.
It took him almost two years to recover and he returned to Brazil’s national team just in time for the 2002 World Cup, where he led Brazil to victory by scoring eight goals, including two in the final against Germany in Yokohama.
“I would have preferred not to have had the injuries, but they changed my life,” Ronaldo said in an Instagram Live session with former Argentina international midfielder Juan Sebastian Veron. “They made me a better man, more responsible, more disciplined.”
Ronaldo suffered another knee injury while playing for AC Milan in February 2008, which ultimately ended his playing days in Europe at just 31 years of age.
“I would like to have played four more years without injuries,” the 43-year-old continued. “But maybe they served as a warning and a wake up call. I can only be thankful.”
Ronaldo also revealed that he considered making a comeback to football.
“When I bought Valladolid I was thinking ‘If I make a sacrifice, if I train for three or four months, I could play a few games again’,” he said.
“But it proved to be nothing more than an idea. I suffered a lot. And the young players these days are so fast.”