ROME (AFP) — Brazilian star Ronaldo's left knee is in better shape than his right knee was eight years ago, AC Milan vice-president Adriano Galliani told Ansa news agency on Friday.
Ronaldo, who faces a major battle to save his career, underwent his third knee operation in Paris on Thursday.
The 31-year-old now faces at least nine months on the sidelines and will only be able to think about returning to action with AC Milan at the end of the year.
Ronaldo flew to Paris after rupturing a tendon in his right knee during AC Milan's 1-1 draw with Livorno on Wednesday.
Galliani said while at an Italian league meeting in Milan: "He (Ronaldo) is still feeling a little pain but it seems the tendon of the (left) knee is in better shape than that of the right knee which was operated on eight years ago."
Renowned French surgeon Professor Gerard Saillant, who supervised the two-hour operation and who operated on Ronaldo in both 1999 and 2000, said he would be out of action for nine months.
"I have not spoken directly with Leonardo (the club official accompanying Ronaldo)," Galliani added. "I am not a doctor and therefore I will not be making a guess at how long he will be out.
"He will need to stay in hospital about a week but after that I do not know where he will decide to go -- whether he will return to Milan or go to Madrid with his son."
The Italian press are naming possible replacements for Ronaldo at AC Milan, including Chelsea's Didier Drogba, Ronaldinho of Barcelona and Karim Benzema who plays for Lyon.
"I am not ruling out bringing in another player," said Galliani. "But we will have to see this summer. Our aim this season is to finish fourth in the league meaning we will qualify for the Champions League."
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