Do you remember R9’s hat-trick at Old Trafford?
This is certainly a sad day in football, as one of the greatest strikers in the history of the game is retiring. Tonight, Luiz Nazario de Lima, commonly known as Ronaldo, will hang up his boots.
We all know Ronaldo, he’s been there on a football pitch since his birth. He scored 420 goals in his career, 62 of which were scored for his beloved national team. Simply brilliant in his early 20s, divine later on.
At only 20, he had already won the Fifa World Player of the Year. If he had stayed at Barcelona, perhaps he would have never suffered such a horrible injury against Lecce. Or that second injury against Lazio.
Yet, Ronaldo succeeded to come back on the field and was the star of the show during the 2002 Fifa World Cup. That’s what I’ve loved about him: his ability to regenerate. Despite the injuries, he would always come back.
At Barcelona he was an explosive striker. At Inter he developed into a complete forward. At Real Madrid, he became a legend. When I think of Ronaldo, I remember almost everything about him: the goals, the skills, the hype surrounding him.
If I were to choose one, I would definitely choose his unbelievable hat-trick at Old Trafford, in United’s 4-3 win over Real Madrid. After only 10 minutes, Ronaldo outran Rio Ferdinand to reach a Guti through ball, entered the box and hammered the ball into the net. After the break, he scored again after a nice move by Figo and Zidane.
In the 57th minute, Il Fenomeno scored his third from outside the penalty area. Brilliant, simply brilliant. A true champion’s performance. A hat-trick of the highest quality and a standing ovation by United’s fans.
How about his display against Lazio in the Uefa Cup final? Perhaps, his display against Germany in the 2002 Fifa World Cup final? You name it.
Ronaldo is without any doubt one of the greatest. If he hadn’t suffered those terrible injuries, he could have been the best of all time. He certainly had the flair, the agility, the finishing and the determination required to be the best.
Tonight, his career comes to an end. At the age of 34, Ronaldo has lost the battle against his body. That’s why we football fans must all encourage him. It doesn’t matter where you’re from. It doesn’t matter who you support. Let’s give him the greatest standing ovation in history. Luiz Nazario de Lima, we all thank you! Farewell, our most beloved hero!
NOTE: This article was written before Brazil’s game vs Romania which marked Ronaldo’s farewell. Here are Ronaldo’s words after the game:
“Forgive me, I had three chances but couldn’t score a goal in my last 15 minutes, which would have been a small reward for everything you’ve done for me. My huge thanks for everything you’ve done for my career, for accepting me the way I am, for crying when I cried, for smiling when I smiled. I simply have to thank you from the bottom of my heart.”
As usual, here’s a video of R9:
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