Football Friends Online – When 90 Mins Is Not EnoughRemembering "Il Fenomeno" (Video) - Football Friends Online - When 90 Mins Is Not Enough Remembering "Il Fenomeno" (Video) - Football Friends Online - When 90 Mins Is Not Enough

Remembering “Il Fenomeno” (Video)

The news broke this week that Ronaldo, the “old” Ronaldo, or the “fat” Ronaldo as he is now known was joining a Brazilian reality TV show centred on weight loss. The man who was nicknamed “Il Fenomeno” or the Phenomenon while at Inter Milan openly admitted upon his retirement that he ‘had lost control of his body’. It appears that since hanging up his boots, the Brazilian has been unable to retain much of that lost control.

However, it’s easy to forget just how brilliant Ronaldo once was. For people brought up watching the rather plump Ronaldo toil in comparison to the superbly athletic Lionel Messi or Cristiano Ronaldo, it seems hard to believe just how superb the Brazilian was in the mid to late 90s and early 2000s for club sides Barcelona, Inter Milan and Real Madrid as well as for the Brazilian national team.

His 8 goals in World Cup 2002 as Brazil lifted the trophy four years after Ronaldo had a fit the afternoon of the 1998 World Cup Final in Paris would provide his own personal redemption and possibly counts as the most glorious moment of his career. However, many are in no doubt that the best of Ronaldo was seen in Catalunya under the tutelage of Sir Bobby Robson.

Ronaldo was only at the Camp Nou for one season – 1996-97 – but what a wonderful season it was as the Brazilian hit 47 goals in 51 matches in all competitions, including 34 goals in 37 league games. His goals, the best of which are highlighted in the video below, brought Barca the European Cup Winners’ Cup, the Spanish Cup and the Spanish Super Cup, though the La Liga title eluded him. His tally of scoring over 30 goals in La Liga was unmatched until 2008-09 and the wonder that was Barcelona’s Lionel Messi. At Barcelona, Ronaldo was truly sensational to watch. The way that he would often take the ball in midfield, sprint past several players like they weren’t there and produce the coolest of finishes, often with his trademark step-over round the keeper, was simply unheralded at the time.

After departing the Camp Nou in acrimonious circumstances to Inter Milan, Ronaldo’s career would never quite be the same again after missing almost two entire seasons due to cruciate ligament problems. A fantastic goalscorer he remained and the accolades kept on coming for club and country, including the personal award of being named Fifa World Player of the Year three times in 1996, 1997 and 2002, but the explosive pace and power of Ronaldo at Barcelona was consigned to history. Let not that detract however from just how phenomenal “Il Fenomeno” was.

Adam Mazrani

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