Tuesday, June 27, 2006
Ronaldo for Brazil (vs Ghana), 27th June 2006
So Ronaldo is now the leading scorer in World Cup history: his 15th goal in the World Cup finals and his 62nd goal in 96 games for Brazil was enough to take him past Gerd Muller.
He's 29 years old... and what a career: 2 world cups (1994, 2002), 3 time FIFA world player of the year (1996, 1997, 2002), European footballer of the year (1997, 2002), Golden Boot as top scorer in the 2002 World Cup..... if there is a prize to be won in the game, Ronaldo has pretty much won it.
29 years old, 3 goals in 4 games so far in the 2006 World Cup, and yet Ronaldo is consistenly written off as a has-been. He looks at least a stone overweight, is immobile and Brazil seem to play infinitely more fluidly when he is replaced by Robinho - a younger man injecting both pace and purpose that is noticeably lacking when Ronaldo is on the pitch. Yet still Carlos Alberto Parreira perisists in picking him.... and still Ronaldo looks capable of scoring if he receives the ball in the box (as long as he doesn't have to run too far to get it).
Has any player had a comparable career in the World Cup?
He was an unused subsitute in the World Cup winning side in 1994 as a teenager. He was the centre of attention in the 1998 final for all the wrong reasons, but people forget that he scored 4 goals and was voted as the tournament's best player. In 2002 he won the golden boot and the World Cup with his 8 goals (and caught the eye with his bizarre haircut). In 2006 so far he has scored 3 goals and seems a fixture in the Brazilian side.
He may be overweight, but how much would England give for a striker of this calibre?
He's a legend, and we should make the most of him in what is surely going to be his last World Cup.
Mind you. I have to say that I am starting to think that France have destiny on their side. They were mostly awful in the group stages and looked lucky to qualify.... and yet.. and yet.... they totally deserved their win against Spain this evening. Thierry Henry may have shamed himself with his play-acting (although it was clearly a free kick anyway), but surely no-one can deny that the French richly deserved to win the game. The Spaniards barely had a shot on goal in the whole game, and go home yet again having under-achieved in a major tournament.
Brazil will need to improve to stop the French advancing to a semi-final game... possibly against England.