This day in history of Ronaldo
RONALDO has experienced it all before — the hysteria of the fans, the probing of the press — and he rarely disappoints his audience. It was no different here yesterday, the Brazil and Real Madrid striker, the biggest galáctico of the lot, having a grin and a word for everyone.
Most intriguingly, as Brazil trained in front of 200 shrieking fans at Lansdowne Road in preparation for their friendly against Ireland this evening, Ronaldo left the door ever so slightly ajar for a possible future move to the Barclaycard Premiership. Maybe Chelsea, his would-be suitors of last year, will be encouraged to try again.
Asked if he would like to play in the Premiership, Ronaldo replied: “I am happy at Real Madrid, but, of course, when there is interest from another team, you must hear it, especially if that interest comes from England because I have never played there. You have to listen to these things, but, again, I am happy at Madrid.”
Brazil will field a formidable line-up tonight, taking advantage of one of the few chances that they have of a proper get-together before they resume their World Cup qualifying programme against Paraguay, the South American group leaders, at the end of next month.
“We are the world champions and people are always watching us. Most of our players are based in Europe, so this is a good opportunity for us to be together. It is not enough to have good technical qualities. You have to have the right attitude as well,” Carlos Alberto Parreira, the Brazil coach, said.
Ireland, having failed to qualify for the European Championship finals, almost have to start afresh. Andy Reid, the Nottingham Forest midfield player, represents the new breed of young players brought in by Brian Kerr, the manager.
“It’s a big step for me, from playing against Walsall and Rotherham to playing against the world champions,” Reid said. “But that’s what I want to do and that’s where I want to be.”
IRELAND (probable; 4-4-2): S Given (Newcastle United) — S Carr (Tottenham Hotspur), K Cunningham (Birmingham City), A O’Brien (Newcastle United), J O’Shea (Manchester United) — J McAteer (Sunderland), M Holland (Charlton Athletic), A Reid (Nottingham Forest), K Kilbane (Everton) — C Morrison (Birmingham City), R Keane (Tottenham Hotspur).
BRAZIL (probable; 4-1-2-1-2): Dida (AC Milan) — Cafu (AC Milan), Lucio (Bayer Leverkusen), Roque Júnior (Siena), Roberto Carlos (Real Madrid) — Gilberto Silva (Arsenal) — Kléberson (Manchester United), Zé Roberto (Bayern Munich) — Ronaldinho (Barcelona) — Kaka (AC Milan), Ronaldo (Real Madrid).
Referee: A Frisk (Sweden).
TELEVISION: Live on Sky Sports 1, from 7pm (kick-off 7.30pm).