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Oct 29, 2008

Ronaldo to snub Europe for return to Brazil

Brazilian striker Ronaldo, one of the finest players of his generation, has decided to turn his back on European football in favour of a move back to his homeland and a possible contract with Flamengo.

The three-time FIFA World Player of the Year is on the brink of a return to the game after recovering from a career-threatening knee injury ahead of schedule.

Ronaldo sustained the injury eight months ago while playing for AC Milan and, since becoming a free agent in the summer, offers have been pouring in for the 32-year-old.

French Ligue 1 outfit Paris St Germain are among the European outfits thought to be leading the chase for his services, but Ronaldo, who has been training with Flamengo, is hopeful he will be playing for his boyhood club next season.

In Rio de Janeiro, he told the Bem Amigos show on SporTV: ''If everything is okay, I want to stay [at Flamengo]. I've been in Europe for 16 years. Flamengo are my favourite, but I don't want to play there as a favour. I want to deserve to play there.''

However, Ronaldo, whose career has been blighted by a succession of serious injuries, revealed he is thinking about retiring if he cannot get back into top shape.

''I could hang up the boots,'' he said. ''If I think I am not fine, I will retire. It's useless if you are physically fit but you are not fast. I already lost some weight but I must lose more.''

And the former Barcelona and Real Madrid frontman - a World Cup winner with Brazil in 1994 and 2002 - has not given up hope of an international recall.

He added: ''I am a wounded soldier who is recovering, but not dead. The national team is part of my life. I have big history with it, with a number of titles and defeats. I am making a big sacrifice and I do dream of the national team.''

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