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 Posted by ESPN Staff
Sep 21, 2006

Ronaldo aiming to bounce back for Brazil

SAO PAULO, Sept 21 (Reuters) - Ronaldo misses playing for Brazil and wants to bounce back next year by helping them retain the Copa America.

On the eve of his 30th birthday, the Real Madrid striker also told Reuters in an interview by e-mail that he had no plans for retirement.

Ronaldo was one of the most heavily criticised players at the World Cup, when Brazil failed to live up to expectations and went out to France in the quarter-finals.

Although he scored three goals to set a record of 15 at World Cup tournaments, Ronaldo lumbered around the pitch during most games amid suspicions that he was overweight.

He subsequently underwent a minor operation to clean up his left knee and has not played yet this season for either club or country.

In his absence, Brazil have played three matches under new coach Dunga, winning two and drawing one, while Real Madrid are fourth in the Spanish league.

'I miss playing for the national team. Next year, there's a Copa America and I want to help Brazil win that title again,' said Ronaldo, who won the tournament in 1997 and 1999.

Ronaldo, who played alongside Dunga at the 1998 World Cup, predicted a bright future for the former captain, who was named coach despite having no previous experience in the role.

'I think Dunga will do well, he's got a lot of character, he knows the players and he certainly won't be influenced by external factors,' he said.

The former PSV Eindhoven and Inter Milan player added that he did not expect an automatic place in the team regardless of form.

'He's right to just pick players who are playing well and this doesn't worry me,' said Ronaldo. 'I never got anything for free with the national team.'

He said he did not want to shoulder all the blame for the Brazilian disappointment in Germany, a sharp contrast to 2002 when Ronaldo scored eight goals and helped his team win a fifth world title.

'I never considered myself the hero and, at the same time, I don't want to wear the dunce's hat,' he said. 'I had my responsibilities in the two episodes (2002 and 2006), and so did the rest of us.

'I know what I can still do in football.

'I've seen several older players who are still playing really well and I'm certain I will do this as well.'

Ronaldo was also keen to resurrect his club career.

'I want to win titles here with Real Madrid,' he said. 'We owe this to the fans and I feel that now we are stronger and it will happen'