AC Milan striker Ronaldo is fearful he may have to retire after rupturing a tendon in his left knee, claims club owner Silvio Berlusconi.
Ronaldo screams in pain after injuring his knee against Livorno
The 31-year-old Brazilian was carried off in tears after suffering the injury against Livorno on Wednesday and underwent surgery in Paris on Thursday.
"He fears for his career," Berlusconi told Italy's RAI TV.
"I called him last evening and told him to believe in himself. He has enormous physical potential."
Gerard Saillant, the surgeon who treated him for a similar injury to his right knee in 2000, oversaw the two-hour operation in France.
Asked if the forward would play again, Saillant said: "It will depend on him."
Earlier, Berlusconi said: "As a 31-year-old, he's very young.
"He has an extraordinary physique, and I think within a few months he could return to being the champion that we all know him as."
I don't want to say it's the end of his career because only time can decide
Milan coach Carlo Ancelotti
The striker faces nine months on the sidelines after rupturing a tendon in his left knee.
"I don't want to say it's the end of his career because only time can decide - all we can do is stand by him," said Milan coach Carlo Ancelotti.
Milan face Premier League leaders Arsenal in the first leg of their last 16 Champions League tie on Wednesday 21 February.
Ronaldo, who is out of contract at the end of the season, suffered the same injury in his right knee in November 1999.
He lasted seven minutes on his comeback in April 2000 before taking another 20 months to make a full recovery.
Ancelotti said the whole club was worried about the Brazilian, who was named Fifa world player of the year three times and is the record scorer in World Cup finals.
"We're all very sorry and worried about what happened to Ronaldo," Ancelotti added.
"Our players all left the stadium in a hurry to go to the hospital to check on his condition, I think that's the right way to stand by a player who's suffering."
Ronaldo fell awkwardly while challenging for a ball in the air with Jose Vidigal, shortly after replacing Alberto Gilardino in the second half.
"I heard a horrible sound, like a bang, it was a strange sound," said Livorno goalkeeper Marco Amelia, who was close by when Ronaldo fell to the ground.