Ronaldo: Inter don't need me to win
RONALDO today tipped Inter Milan to overcome Ipswich without him.The Brazilian ace, twice voted world number one, has been left behind in Italy with strike partner Christian Vieri ahead of tomorrow's UEFA Cup clash at Portman Road.
By Mel Henderson
RONALDO today tipped Inter Milan to overcome Ipswich without him.
The Brazilian ace, twice voted world number one, has been left behind in Italy with strike partner Christian Vieri ahead of tomorrow's UEFA Cup clash at Portman Road.
But he feels that coach Hector Cuper has enough talent in his 18-man squad to record the type of result that will put Inter firmly in the driving seat for the return in the San Siro Stadium on December 6.
Ronaldo, now close to full fitness after two injury-plagued years, said: "I am convinced that Inter, even without myself and Vieri, will do well in Ipswich and have an excellent game."
The Brazilian's absence will not only disappoint supporters. The Town players were looking forward to coming up against him, as much as the fans anticipated seeing him in action.
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Ronaldo added: "There was a plan for me to travel to Ipswich, but then I sat down and discussed the situation with the manager.
"We both agreed it is better for me to stay in Milan and continue my training, so that I am in the best shape for the Serie A game against Fiorentina on Sunday."
If Ronaldo's return goes smoothly, there is every chance he could appear against Ipswich in next month's return game.
Inter coach Cuper has three strikers in his 18-man squad and there are reports in Italy that he may even keep nine-goal top scorer Mohamed Kallon on the bench.
The Sierra Leone-born star, who is trying to shrug off a slight muscular problem, said: "I have seen Ipswich a couple of times on television and they are a good side. But thank God they have lost (Marcus) Stewart. He is an excellent striker.
"I don't know the rest of the players very well, but if they are appearing in the Premiership they can't be bad. They play like most English teams – lots of crosses from the back and with a lot of speed.
"We have to do our usual. We have to fight to win and try to finish the job as quickly as possible, because in football you never know what is going to happen."
Tomorrow's game is likely to present striker Nicola Ventola with a rare opportunity to impress – and the former Italy Under-21 cap means to make the most of it.
He said: "I knew that I would not be a first team regular, so I am trying to give the most quality with the smallest quantity.
"We can expect that Ipswich will attack and try to do their best with the home advantage. But I am sure we can create chances and we must make the most of them.
"It is a difficult match because they run a lot and they are physically strong, but we are prepared for this sort of opposition. I am looking forward to the chance that will come my way."
The Inter squad: Toldo, Fontana, Materazzi, Cordoba, J Zanetti, Gresko, Georgatos, Conceicao, C Zanetti, Farinos, Emre, Okan, Seedorf, Guglielminpietro, Di Biagio, Ventola, Adriano, Kallon.