Rio de Janeiro: Atletico Mineiro veteran Ronaldinho is expected to resume running next week, raising hopes that the injured star will be fit for the FIFA Club World Cup in December.
The two-time FIFA World Player of the Year ruptured the adductor muscle in his left groin while training with the Brazilian side late last month. Atletico Mineiro team doctor Rodrigo Lasmar said the 33-year-old was responding positively to intense physiotherapy.
"Ronaldinho has improved significantly. He is practically free of pain and has already begun light work to strengthen the muscle. The expectation is that next week he will begin running, which doesn`t mean that he is ready," Lasmar said.
The Club World Cup, featuring each of FIFA`s six continental club champions plus the host nation`s league winners, will be played in Morocco from Dec 11-21.
Atletico Mineiro, who earned the right to play in the tournament by winning the Copa Libertadores final in July, are favourites to meet European champions Bayern Munich in the final.
Lasmar admitted Ronaldinho`s focus was to be fit in time for the competition.
"He still has a long recovery process ahead but so far everything is as good as we could have imagined. We are confident that he is going to be available for the Club World Cup."