There's Only One Ronaldo....

Sunday, 17 February 2008

Everyone had a player that truly drew them towards football, someone who was so magical and exciting that you truly thought you were experiencing something sexual in a footballing context. I know that sounds slightly dramatic but for me and for many other people around the world that man was Ronaldo Luis Nazário de Lima also known as El Fenómeno. I warn you this article is a somewhat homoerotic tribute to a player that I consider the most talented of all time.

Back in my days there was no Youtube or video downloading like we have in abundance now, so you had to absorb the hype from what you read in the newspapers and any games you could catch on TV, if you were lucky enough to have Sky. I remember first seeing Ronaldo at the 1994 world cup when he was 17 year old, quietly sitting on the bench with no one knowing who he was, but at that time it was simply impossible for a teenager to outshine the genius of Romario and Bebeto. The commentator said Brazil had a wonderkid, a player who could potentially rival the likes of Pele and Maradonna as the greatest talent the game has ever seen, what a way to put some early pressure on a youngster.

Fast forward 2 years, and I was watching the Olympics in 1996 and I watched an absolutely sublime 19 year old simply destroy the opposition, scoring every type of goal imaginable, the young Brazilians eventually fell to a superb Nigerian team led by Kanu and Okocha(god knows how old they really were back then, 30?), but Ronaldo stood out as a player with more potential then any other player I had seen in my lifetime, something similar to when you watched the first Harry Potter movie and saw a young Emma Watson, you knew that a few years down the line she would develop into something we can all lust over. Is that wrong? Maybe, but i don't really care.

At PSV, Ronaldo scored 55 goals in 57 appearances but it was at Barcelona where Ronaldo was at his best, scoring and incredible 47 goals in 49 games and is the last person to score over 30 goals in La Liga, you don't get stats much better than that, unless you're measuring Halle Berry from top to bottom. Ronaldo was only at Barca for one season but in that season we witnessed the greatest exhibition of footballing talent you will probably ever see, and what makes it even more remarkable was the fact at that he was 20 years old. I sometimes chuckle when I see commentators wanking over a lucky Cristiano freekick, Wayne Rooney's excessive aggression or a Messi slalom run, yes they are all great talents but if you want the blueprint of the ultimate wonderkid rewind back to 90s and look at what Ronaldo was doing, he was producing magic that even the worlds greatest players of that time could only dream of.

One of Ronaldo’s lowest moments was in the 1998 world cup final, but you tell me what would happen if a 21 year old player with more hype than a J.lo Sex tape, had an epileptic fit before the biggest match of his life, it doesn't matter how good you are or how big your balls are, you are destined to fail. Ronaldo then moved onto Inter scoring 49 in 69 league goals, and his performance in the UEFA cup final against Lazio was so good that Mancini had to warn him that anymore showboating would lead to a broken leg, to which he adhered to and then ran trough on goal and calmly rounded the goalkeeper in the coolest fashion you can imagine. Just check out the video below.

Who knows what heights Ronaldo could have reached if he didn't suffer those 2 knee injuries whilst at inter, maybe he would be considered the greatest player of all time. Many people blame muscle building drugs for his knee problems, but we will probably never know the whole truth. After more than 2 years out of the game, Ronaldo proved why he is simply a big game player by returning at the 2002 world cup and scoring 8 goals and most notably 2 in the final, and then he moved into Real Madrid scoring over a 100 goals for them, and most notably a superb hattrick at Old Trafford in the champions league.

Its kinda sad that football has changed so much that many people are not aware of this man's talents and what he has done for football, you search for Ronaldo in Google and it asks if you were talking about Cristiano. Ronaldo's weight problems will mean the youngsters and misinformed will never know what kind of player he was, watching him at the 2006 world cup was kinda embarrassing, but even a Fat Ronaldo is better than most, and he still scored 3 goals to become the world cup greatest ever goalscorer, not even i could begrudge him this after his stepover snatched the record against my beloved Ghana. Many people will cite Zidane as the best player of this generation, but for me Ronaldo was a different animal, the only player in our lifetime who was truly unplayable, the man who along with Garrincha invented all the tricks that we see the likes of Ronaldinho and Robinho doing week in week out, and the only player who truly had every attribute that a footballer should have, incredible speed, power, pace, skill and vision, if a machine could make the perfect footballer Ronaldo would come out. Ronaldo is your favourite striker's favourite striker and even Batistuta said that Ronaldo is football. Lets hope we get to see this man on the biggest stage again, if not then thanks for the memories. It's all good, we have Youtube to remember you by.

7 Responses to "There's Only One Ronaldo...."

Matthew Says:

you mention his performance "was so good that Mancini had to warn him that anymore showboating would lead to a broken leg". following similar thoughts of fergie's re: nani, how about an article on showboating? (a few soccer am showboating clips come to mind)

Valderrama's Jockstrap Says:

Nice write up man. I too was sad to see the news that he might be done....as well as the state of his hair!! truely a legend.

On the showboating thing, if you do an article, you have to dig up the Brazilian game a while back where ridiculous showboating on the half way line lead to a karate kick from the opposition player and then a full scale riot....That would have been the way to deal with Nani.

Mogga Says:

I have to say that I forgot some of the incredible talent that the real Ronaldo had until I saw some of them videos

Can't forgt the fitties he used to roast as well, including that bird who could do loads of kick ups

The fake Ronaldo will never reach his heights. FACT

Kofi Says:

I think im getting old, all the players I looked up to during my youth are retiring or getting old, im not sure who is still around. Figo? lol

Ronaldo is the best of the lot though, will be sorely missed if he doesn't return. Still had 9 goals in 14 last season and 2 in 2 this season, just cane beat his strike rate.

Matthew Says:

yeah i know what you mean kofi, it ain't been the same since tony yeboah left...

sf2007 Says:

Nice article about the REAL Ronaldo. I'm wondering what age you are, because I remember exactly the same things, World Cup 94, the Olympics and O Fenômeno's time at Barca. All generations have 'their favourite players of all time' maradona, pele etc. For me that player is Ronaldo.

OpaHmar Says:

The original Phenom - indeed, his goal scoring ability was amazing, his fakes and dribbles were sheer pleasure to watch: sad tho how he has fallen to bad times