The rise and fall of Ronaldo

by admin

Monday, February 14th, 2011

Pele, Eusebio, Di Stefano, Puskas, Van Basten, Cruyff and Charlton are a few footballers that roll off the tongue when one draws up lists or have in-depth debates about who the greatest footballer was of the 20th Century.

These lofty names featured in a football documentary shown on Sky Sports in the last few months called Football’s Greatest.

With the announcement today of Ronaldo Luis Nazario De Lima otherwise known as Ronaldo retiring from the game with immediate effect, he can certainly add his name to that roll call of legends.

Ronaldo had a decorated career at both club and international level, and as he won pretty much every honour there is to win in football, one wonders where to start.

A move to PSV in 1994 from Brazilian club Cruzeiro, heralded the arrival of a fresh-faced player on the European scene. He impressed during his time with the Dutch outfit, as he plundered an incredible 54 goals in 58 games.

Bobby Robson was alerted to the mercurial talent of Ronaldo, and the Brazilian left PSV to join Spanish giants, Barcelona. His time at Barca was very productive as he netted an astonishing 47 goals in 48 games- a lot of these were typified by lung-busting runs, and he had everything in his armoury- great technical skill, raw pace, and most importantly as a forward, he was a natural finisher who was clinical with either foot.

His remarkable goal-scoring feats saw him scoop the FIFA World Player of the Year in 1996 when he was 20 years old. But Ronaldo was on the move again to Inter Milan where he kept up his astonishing goal rate.

Although he hit 59 goals in 99 appearances, his time spent at San Siro was plagued by knee injuries.

But after five years with Inter, Real Madrid came calling and Ronaldo became a galactico as he played alongside Beckham, Figo and Raul. Though the Champions League proved to be elusive for Real after 2002, he was no slouch when it came to leading the frontline- 98 goals in 164 games suggests otherwise. A hat-trick against Manchester United in the Champions League in 2003 was a memorable highlight.

The fact that he won the Fifa Player of the Year three times underlines the extraordinary talent of Ronaldo.

To summarise his international career, which most people tend to associate Ronaldo with, he was quite simply sensational.

Though he was ineffectual when he was on the losing side at the 1998 World Cup Final, he tasted success at the 2002 World Cup and scored two in the final in Brazil’s 3-2 over Germany. The only sour point of that World Cup for him was his choice of haircut which was a bit dodgy- his head was shaved but he had a tuft of hair that looked like a training cone.

While Ronaldo had fluctuating fortunes at AC Milan, he spent his final days at Corinthians where he netted 18 goals in 31 games and helped his side win the Libertadores.

Ronaldo may have had spectacular highs and even more dramatic lows, but he was a footballing genius; an icon which a lot of kids growing up in Brazil aspired to be like.

Thank you for the memories Ronaldo. One thing is for sure, is that you will not be forgotten in a hurry.

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  • Rotn

    A true genius but he will always be remembered for that dodgy barnet

  • RandyAndy

    And then there’s the transvestites.

  • Stan

    and the buck tooth

  • Marc Sibbons

    What a player in his prime, probably the best striker of the past 20 years in my opinion! his goal record is second to none.

  • dexylongshot

    I agree Marc, he was unstoppable in the late 90s.

  • dan

    the phenomenon

  • Gavin

    For me, his name is up there behind maybe only Zidane as a modern great. Even in his leaner, or should that be ‘fatter’, years he produced moments which made you recognise his natural talent. I think he got 9 in 20 for AC Milan which is not a bad return….better than Carlton Cole!!!!

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