Ronaldo leads title charge

SAO PAULO, Brazil - Corinthians, with veteran striker Ronaldo as their main star, won the Sao Paulo state football championship on Sunday.

SAO PAULO, Brazil - Corinthians, with veteran striker Ronaldo as their main star, won the Sao Paulo state football championship on Sunday.

"Timao", as Corinthians are known, were unbeaten in the tournament and drew 1-1 on Sunday against Santos. They would have won the championship even with a Sunday defeat, provided that they did not lose by more than two goals.

"The goal for the rest of the year is to win the Brazilian Cup and the Brazilian Championship. We have to stay in this line of play and win everything," Ronaldo said at the end of the game.

At Pacaembu stadium, Kleber Pereira opened the scoring for Santos from the spot in the 28th minute. Santos continued to dominate the game after that and had several good chances.

But Corinthians remained calm and equalised through Andre Santos five minutes later.

Ronaldo, 32, was in the Corinthians attack, but he was well covered by Domingos. There was tension between the two men, and the Santos defender was sent off in the second half.

Ronaldo - Fifa World Player of the Year in 1996, 1997 and 2002 - returned to Brazil this year, after 14 seasons in European football, with PSV Eindhoven, Barcelona, Inter Milan, Real Madrid and Milan.

When he joined Corinthians, Ronaldo was overweight and out of form after a 13-month absence because of a knee injury.

But in 10 games with the Brazilian club he scored eight goals and showed he is still a force to be reckoned with. The title, Ronaldo noted, "is a reward for all the work". - Sapa-DPA

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