Today saw the announcement of the retirement from football of Ronaldo. No doubt, when the news broke, a lot of people will have thought it was Cristiano Ronaldo, before realising, it was “The other Ronaldo”
There was once a time when Ronaldo was Ronaldo, and Cristiano Ronaldo was “The other Ronaldo”
I remember Gary Lineker stating as a pundit before Brazil’s opening match of the 1994 World Cup that Brazilian team-mates at Grampus 8 had told him Ronaldo (Then in the squad as an 18 year old) was going to be a major star.
The 1994 World Cup would come too soon for him, but by the time of the 1998 World Cup, he was the world’s biggest football star.
He burst onto the scene in the eyes of the British public during the 1996/1997 season, his only season at Barcelona.
Sir Bobby Robson was manager of Barcelona, and as a result, they featured prominently in the round-up of the rest of the football news.
To put things into perspective, the only foreign football on British TV then was the World Cup, and the European Cup Final.
When Man United went out of the European Cup group stages in 1994, ITV didn’t show another live game until the final.
That may sound strange in this age of Spanish football on Sky every week and every Champions League game live on TV.
It only added to the mystique around him. The BBC treated us to live coverage of Spartak Moscow v Inter Milan in a UEFA Cup Semi-Final on a Tuesday afternoon in 1998.
The pitch, if you could call it that, was sand, but it didn’t matter, Ronaldo single handedly destroyed them.
As with any great player, enjoy, admire, aspire.
Enjoy some Youtube clips of his finest moments.