Sao Paulo:Now it's Ronaldo's weight - not his goals - which is attracting all the attention in Brazilian football.
The question everybody was asking in Brazil on Thursday was whether the football star had weight reduction surgery on the sly while repairing his broken hand or if it was just speculation from local media.
Ronaldo is not speaking, and his club Corinthians is neither confirming nor denying that the striker had the surgery while he hospitalized to repair a broken hand.
Several local media are reporting, based on unnamed sources, that doctors removed 70 centimeters of fat from Ronaldo's waist on Wednesday.
"There are certain things a doctor can talk about, but others only with the consent of the patient," Corinthians doctor Joaquim Grava told Terra Web site. "I am not allowed to confirm if the (surgery) has been done or not."
Terra said doctors used a different name for Ronaldo at the hospital to keep anyone from finding out about whether he underwent the weight reduction surgery.
The hospital is not confirming the possible surgery, and Corinthians' press office said only that the team does not discuss the personal lives of its players.
"If he did have the surgery, Ronaldo will be flying even more than he was already," Corinthians goalkeeper Felipe said. "It will be good for us. If he really had the surgery and is thinner, it will be a problem for the other teams."
Ronaldo has been thriving in his return to football after being sidelined for more than a year because of his third serious knee injury. Since making his debut with Corinthians in March, Ronaldo has scored 17 times in 27 matches and helped the traditional club win the Sao Paulo state championship and the Brazilian Cup.
He acknowledged, however, that he remained slightly out of shape and that losing the remaining kilograms (pounds) that still kept him overweight was particularly hard.
The 32-year-old Ronaldo reportedly wanted to remove 1.5 kilograms (3.3 pounds) of fat, but doctors said it was not necessary.
He was expected to undergo the surgery later in the year, in the offseason, but took advantage of the hand injury to have the procedure now, GloboEsporte.com said.
Ronaldo was hospitalized on Wednesday to repair the hand he broke in a fall during a 3-0 loss to Palmeiras on Sunday. Doctors successfully inserted 12 screws to repair the fractures on two bones of his left hand.
The surgery will keep him sidelined for about five weeks.
Ronaldo was extremely out of shape when he signed with Corinthians in December following the knee surgery he underwent in February 2008. He was about 10 kilograms (22 pounds) overweight at the time, but recently said he needed to lose only about only 1 or 2 kilograms (2 or 4 pounds).
Ronaldo's weight first attracted attention at the 2006 World Cup in Germany, when arrived at the team's camp admittedly overweight after a series of injuries with former club Real Madrid.
Even the Brazilian president, Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, got involved in Ronaldo's weight controversy at the time. In a video conference with players just days before the team's debut, Silva asked Parreira whether the striker was fat.
Ronaldo later compared the speculation about his weight to the rumors about the president's affection for alcohol, and Silva ended having to send a fax to Ronaldo saying his previous comments about his weight were meant to end speculation, not add fuel to it.
Ronaldo has won two World Cups and three world player of the year awards. He is the career World Cup scoring leader with 15.