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‘Split with Milene won’t affect me’

Rio De Janeiro: Ronaldo confirmed here on Thursday that he and his wife Milene Domingues were divorcing but insisted that he was taking the marital split in stride.

“I’ve already experienced worse moments in my life. It’s a small problem which needs time to be sorted out,” the Real Madrid striker said.

Appearing relaxed the 27-year-old Ronaldo was speaking after training with the Brazil team preparing for Saturday’s South American 2006 World Cup qualifier against Peru in Lima.

His comments came 24 hours after his wife admitted their four-year marriage was in trouble but denied a divorce was imminent.

Ronaldo’s spokesman, Rodrigo Paiva, had earlier this week told the Agencia Brasil news agency that although the couple continued to live under the same roof and shared the same room they “no longer had a husband-wife relationship.”

“The relationship between the two has deteriorated for some time,” Paiva said.

And Ronaldo told the press at Brazil’s Granja Comary training ground: “Rodrigo Paiva has told you everything. This doesn’t effect me. You’ll see on Sunday when I’ll score a goal and then everyone’ll be happy and forget the whole thing.”

Domingues has played club football since the age of 14, and holds the world record for keepie-uppies (55,187 touches in nine hours and six minutes).

The couple married in December 1999 and have a three-year-old son, Ronald.

Responding to earlier comments by Paiva that the couple’s marriage was over, the 24-year-old Domingues told Caracol radio from Madrid that they had not discussed divorcing.

“I’m still in love, but I can’t say that it’s like it was before,” she said. “The marriage is going through a difficult period and is a bit worn. I hope that time will show us the way.

“Until now we haven’t thought about divorce. It’s not going well, that’s the truth. We’re in a situation which is quite strange, sometimes I don’t know if we are really married and how we’re going to continue.”

A Rio tabloid on Tuesday carried a photograph of Real Madrid player David Aganzo, who is currently on loan to second division Levante, and claimed that he was having a relationship with Domingues.

Paiva denied the report. He said that in the event of a separation the couple’s three-year-old son Ronald, would remain with his mother.

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