He grew up the hard way on the streets of
Rio, earned universal acclaim with his football skills, has romanced
super-models and VJs, made pots of money, and of course, has quite a bit
left in him to capture football's biggest stage.
Yet Luis Nazario de Lima, or Ronaldo as we know him, goes into this
summer's World Cup with a lot at stake.
"The principal target is the collective triumph, to help Brazil win a
sixth World Cup. My personal success takes a back seat. In any case, if
I score goals, I'll be helping Brazil to win the title," says the
After a Golden Ball and a Golden Boot in successive World Cups, this man
should have had it easy. In spite of sharing space with Pele as Brazil's
top-scorer in the World Cup, Ronaldo faces a career crisis, with
injuries and bad form tainting his profile.
With a season hardly worth remembering at Real Madrid, there is a big
question as to whether the ‘Phenom’ has it in him to deliver again.
He's scored 58 times in the 91 games he's played for Brazil, and after
the 2002 World Cup, has struck 82 goals in 120 matches for Real Madrid.
And he's also found the net 12 times for Brazil in the World Cup, and
needs just 2 more to overtake Gerd Muller's all-time record of 14 World
However with the likes of Robinho, Adriano and Kaka vying for a place in
the forward-line, Ronaldo will have to deliver the goods to be in the
starting line-up regularly. Not to forget Ronaldinho, who's now regarded
as best footballer in the world.
While this might just spur him on to greater heights, the probing media
also hasn't left him get away unscathed. Reports of him having lost his
fitness levels abound, has provoked a reaction too.
"I think people call me fat due to a lack of knowledge. After all, what
is fat? People have been talking about it for so long that nowadays I
just take it as a joke," ridicules Ronaldo.
Ronaldo seems pretty determined to make people eat their words. But
whether he will do justice to his explosive talent once more or just
fade away as a star that dazzled just once on football's biggest stage,
people will get to know in just a few days.