Ronaldo returns after 13-month absence

SAO PAULO - Brazilian striker Ronaldo played his first competitive game since suffering a knee injury 13 months ago when he came on as a second-half substitute for Corinthians in a Copa Brasil game on Wednesday.

Ronaldo, who suffered the injury playing for AC Milan in a Italian Serie A game in February last year, came on in the 66th minute of the 2-0 win away to modest Itumbiara.

The 32-year-old joined Corinthians in December in a surprise move and has taken nearly three months to reach match fitness.

Ronaldo was involved in another off-field controversy last week when he was fined by the club for arriving late at the team hotel after a day off.

Corinthians were already 2-0 ahead when Ronaldo came on, Chicao and Andre Santos having scored either side of halftime.

Wearing his favourite number nine shirt, Ronaldo had only a few touches of the ball in an unspectacular debut.

The former Barcelona, Real Madrid, PSV Eindhoven and Inter Milan player had previously suffered two serious knee injuries and many whether he would ever recover from the latest one.