Brazil striker Ronaldo has spent most of
the season battling against the weighing machine and fans of his club
Real Madrid, prompting some pundits to write him off for the World Cup.
The Phenomenal One, however, has other ideas.
Ronaldo has already proved at the 2002 World Cup that he is at his most
dangerous in adversity. He is also the type of player who saves his best
for his country rather than his club.
Four years ago, Ronaldo had only just recovered from three years of
injury misery which included two major knee operations. Some even said
that coach Luiz Felipe Scolari was irresponsible for picking him.
Yet he finished as top scorer in the tournament with eight goals,
including two in the final, as Brazil won their fifth World Cup.
This time, it is Ronaldo's pride that has been hurt.
Ronaldo has taken much of the blame for the failure of Real Madrid's
so-called Galacticos to live up to their billing and recently has even
found himself left on the bench.
He has been booed by the supporters and severely criticised by the
Spanish media. The situation deteriorated still further earlier this
year when he said he felt unloved by the club's fans.
It has not helped, either, that he has looked sluggish and overweight at
Still only 29, Ronaldo will be taking part in his fourth World Cup.
In 1994, he was included as a 17-year-old but was not given a game. Four
years later, he arrived amid huge expectations and failed to live up to
them, despite scoring four goals.
His illness before the final against France is still clouded in mystery
and his poor performance in that match has never really been fully
Then came 2002 and his dramatic resurgence.
In all three tournaments, Brazil reached the final.
Ronaldo first came to prominence in 1993 with Cruzeiro where he scored
58 goals in 60 matches which earned him his spot in the 1994 squad.
A move to Europe and PSV Eindhoven followed and worked out well with
Ronaldo winning domestic and European honours and being named World
Player of the Year in 1996 and 1997.
Further moves to Inter Milan, Barcelona and finally Real Madrid sealed
his reputation as one of the great players of the modern age, something
he can still enhance in Germany.