I wasn't part of the video conference with
the Brazilian president when he asked about Ronaldo's weight. I think it
was a joke but many people who watched him have interpreted it quite
There was plenty of fuss in the Brazilian papers, which was upsetting,
but it was not meant to be serious. The president knows Ronaldo and
admires him for what he has done for football and for our country.
I can tell you that Ronaldo is fit and he will want to play against
Croatia in our opening Group F game in Berlin tomorrow night.
The build-up reminds me of 2002 when a lot of people claimed he would
never play again, yet he came back and was so important for us. This
time I think he wants to do the same because so many people have
Because of what he has done for football in our country, because of all
the teams he has played for, people expect him to do his best all the
time. But sometimes, because of just one thing, they forget everything
he has done before.
But the supporters know what he is capable of doing — and we as players
know as well.
The pressure on us is greater than on any other nation. We have to win —
and we have to play well.
The Brazilian people don't accept it if we don't play beautiful football
and it's been like that in our country for a long time. We try to do our
best but it's not always easy. We are also cast as favourites by most
people outside Brazil, but the players don't think like that.
If you lose your first game it breaks your confidence
On the pitch everything is completely different. Every team wants to
beat us and every time they play the game of their lives.
Of course we are confident, but only as confident as we need to be. We
need to walk on the floor, not to fly and think that we're gods.
My biggest concern is the first game tomorrow. If we don't start well
then the tournament will get very hard for us. If you lose your first
game it breaks your confidence and it could be hard to come back.
We're doing plenty of preparation for the Croatia game because we have
to. Our coach, Carlos Alberto Parreira, his staff and the players are
taking great care about this game because we know it won't be easy.
Physically, it will be difficult because our opponents are tall guys who
are very strong in the air.
Parreira has spoken to us about individual Croats and the way the team
plays. It is important we have as much information as possible so we
We have been paying a lot of attention to central midfielder Niko
Kranjcar and their long-haired striker, Dado Prso, a really threatening
player who protects the ball and uses it well in the box.
I've been playing sweeper in practice matches because we've set up the
reserves in Croatia's formation. It lets the first team train for the
right situations, but the reserves won 3-0!
I'm not in the team because it has not been simple to come back from the
injury I had last year. The only way to get in is to work hard and be
ready, because you never know when you will have an opportunity. When my
chance comes I want to be ready. I'm happy to be here, but not on the