Monday, 14 February 2011

Ronaldo – El Fenomeno

Whilst weighing up which topic to pick for my hundredth blog something occurred to make any other options futile; the announcement that Ronaldo Luis Nazario de Lima was retiring from the game. Ronaldo was the best striker of my generation; he had everything – great technical ability, was two footed and was blessed with great strength and speed.

He first caught the eye in an incredible season for Barcelona when he scored 47 goals in 49 games in the 96/97 season. The man was simply unstoppable and completed a move to Inter Milan for £19 million where he enjoyed a successful first season. In the summer of 1998 Ronaldo became known world wide after some incredible performances at the World Cup which saw Brazil progress to the final against France in Paris.

What follows was to remain one of the most debated things in football history, for whatever reason (and there are many varied theories) his performance in the final was non existent; he was there in body but not in mind. On his return to Italy following the defeat to France he picked up an injury against Lecce which saw the beginning of his injury nightmare. He did not feature again regularly again until 2002.

The summer of 2002 saw the World Cup played in Japan and South Korea where a Ronaldo inspired Brazil went on to win their fifth title. El Fenomeno scored 8 goals including 2 in the final to win the Golden boot. The memory of those goals will remain etched in my memory for many years; it was an incredibly fitting way for such a genius to triumph in the face of adversity. Following the tournament he then sealed a move to Real Madrid for €39 million. He enjoyed considerable success but the last memory in this writer’s mind was off him being given a standing ovation at Old Trafford following his hat-trick in 2004; it was an incredible occasion.

Whilst his talent remained his body began to betray him more and more frequently which saw the later stage of his career fade away. In 2009 he returned to Brazil where he played for Corinthians who aided by Ronaldo qualified for the Copa Libertadores. Following elimination from the same competition this year he announced his retirement. It was the end of an incredible career that saw many high points and Ronaldo will be remembered and idolised by many for being one of the true football greats.

Some of Ronaldo’s achievements:

2 time World Cup and Copa America winner

2 time Ballon d’Or winner

3 time World Player of the Year winner

European Golden Boot winner

La Liga top scorer

Serie A player of the season

A career record of 352 goals in 515 games

Clubs represented:

Cruzeiro, PSV, Barcelona, Inter Milan, Real Madrid, AC Milan, Corinthians

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