Since bouncing back from yet ANOTHER knee injury, the cuddly forward that is Ronaldo has been creating yet more headlines, without a transvestite in sight.
Having signed for Corinthians who have just been promoted, Ronaldo took on his umpteenth battle to get fit and prove once again that he is not just a walking talking teddy bear. This time however, age was not on his side, having turned 32 in September last year. Ronaldo knew it would be a tough road ahead and even acknowledged that he may be forced to quit if he could not get himself sufficiently fit for his club. Who was he kidding?
This is Ronaldo, the boy wonder who was a multimillionaire and two time Fifa World Player of the Year before he hit 21 years of age. The kid who suffered a career threatening knee injury and yet still came back in 2002 to become a World Cup champion. The man who showed up to another World Cup in 2006 despondent, and 10 kilos overweight, and yet still came out of it as Brazil’s top scorer, and the overall leading goal scorer in World Cup history.
Ronaldo is the king of comebacks, and his latest one in Brazil is all going to plan. Having hit the back of the net 10 times in 13 appearances for Corinthians, Ronaldo has the Brazilian public back in the palm of his hand. The media are already clamouring for a return to the Seleção for the legendary frontman, and Dunga himself has proclaimed the doors to be well and truly open. The stage is set for another return to the only tournament where Ronaldo has said he truly feels happy in.
One thing that still may be in the way is Ronaldo’s enthusiasm in the long term. The willingness to keep himself fit. After all this is the man who in training once ate three magnum ice-creams in a row. Who has often been spotted partying in early hours when he should have been resting. And of course that whole transvestite issue which we shall not speak of. It remains to be seen whether Ronaldo will strive to motivate himself to keep on top of things, physically and mentally. And I’m sure the footballing world will be praying that those knees, which have put Ronaldo through hell, will hold out until he retires.
Ronaldo’s last appearance in the Brazil shirt came in the quarter final of World Cup 2006 in which Brazil were knocked out by France. Since then, Brazil coach Dunga has tried a number of options upfront. Vagner Love, who has a great record in Russian football, and is a good player, failed to ignite for Brazil upfront. Dunga has since opted to select Luis Fabiano, who is undoubtedly talented, but often blows hot and cold through out the season. Many have said that Alexandre Pato should be given more of a chance, but he himself has had a rough time in front of goal of late at Milan.
What remains clear is that, amazing as it is, at 32 years of age Ronaldo remains the most clinical finisher that Brazil has. Dunga is smart enough to realise that if Ronaldo can keep up the run of games and goals, he will be ready to rejuvenate Brazil if called upon. And I’m one fan who is hoping that day comes very soon.