Ronaldo – Utterly Listless
What started as a blossoming friendship in the second half of last season, with seven goals in 14 games after Ronaldo’s transfer from Real Madrid to Milan for EUR 7.5m (paying EUR 3m of it himself), has turned into an irritating waiting game. But Ronaldo is no stranger to agony.
In 1999, he was out of action after sustaining a serious knee injury with Inter Milan. During his comeback six months later, he tore his patella tendon after six minutes of play. He lay weeping on the pitch and spent almost a year undergoing a variety of treatment and building up his strength. “I felt abandoned,” he says looking back. “But football is like that; it has a very short memory.”
Too true: memories of the best striker of his age have faded fast. What have remained are his feuds with Inter president and mentor Massimo Moratti.
In 2002, Ronaldo insisted on a transfer to Real Madrid and promptly made countless enemies among Inter fans. In Madrid he finally lost the power game to tough disciplinarian Fabio Capello. “I have never seen a less motivated player in training sessions than Ronaldo,” affirmed the Italian. “Capello is muddleheaded,” retorted Ronaldo. “He also called me the best player he had ever had. He has been in the football game for too long and doesn’t know what he’s saying.” Thereupon Ronaldo joined rivals AC Milan, much to the disgust of Moratti and the Inter fans. The controversies remain in everyone’s long-term memory but the recollections of his two goals in the 2002 FIFA World Cup™ final that Brazil ultimately won, his record number of 1 5 goals in the FIFA World Cup “and spectacular dribbles down the pitch have long been overshadowed. “Milan have installed turnstiles at the San Siro because of new safety regulations,” joked a popular Italian cabarettist a while ago. “The only problem is that Ronaldo can’t get through them.” How true: football really does have a very short memory.