Ronaldo failed to impress in Brazil's World
Cup opener, looking slow and even sluggish at times during a 1-0 win
over Croatia on Tuesday.
Ronaldo's weight has been the subject of controversy in the days leading
up to the tournament, and his play against Croatia is sure to fuel more
talk of his being out of shape.
Only three goals shy of becoming the World Cup's all-time leading scorer,
Ronaldo barely touched the ball before being substituted for in the 69th
minute. Despite the subpar performance, however, he had one legitimate
scoring opportunity, sending a hard right-foot shot over the crossbar
from 25 yards out in the 56th minute.
"Ronaldo hadn't been playing for two months ... it's natural, in a hot
day like today, that he felt the lack of rhythm," Brazil coach Carlos
Alberto Parreira said. "Certainly, from now on he will get in form
little by little."
This is Ronaldo's fourth World Cup and Monday was his 100th match with
Brazil. If Brazil wins a second consecutive title, Ronaldo will equal
Brazil great Pele as a three-time champion. The Real Madrid striker is
tied with Pele with 12 World Cup goals, one fewer than Just Fontaine of
France and two fewer than Gerd Muller of Germany.
But Ronaldo faced plenty of criticism in the days before the tournament,
including a query from Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva
during a video conference with the team as to whether he was fat.
Ronaldo later compared the speculation about his weight to speculation
about the president's consumption of alcohol. Silva then sent a fax to
Ronaldo saying his comments about his weight were meant to end
speculation, not bring more attention to the subject.
Even Brazil's sports minister, Orlando Silva Junior, visited the team's
training camp with message to Ronaldo saying how much the president
"Ronaldo has said in interviews he's not 100 percent, he's not in ideal
form," Brazil midfielder Kaka said. "Let's hope he becomes that Ronaldo
we all want to see. A little more movement from his part would have been
When he was only 17 years old, Ronaldo was a member of Brazil's squad
that won the 1994 World Cup in the United States. He was crucial in
Brazil's 2002 campaign, leading all players in the tournament with eight
Ronaldo has said he's not worried about breaking records and only wants
to help Brazil win the World Cup.
From the beginning it looked like Ronaldo was going to have a bad game.
He seemed always a step behind trying to get to passes, and had
difficulties controlling the ball.
He was replaced by Robinho, who many say would be a better option on
attack for Brazil as it tries to win an unprecedented sixth world title.