H There were two occasions to enjoy Ronaldo Nazario in the Spanish League. In Barcelona, where he arrived as an exciting young star of just 20 years old in 1996-97, and in Real Madrid, already consecrated and world champion in 2002-03.
The azulgrana hired a boy for around 15 million euros and Inter paid almost double, 28, the following season. It cost Real Madrid 45, already bordering 26 years and after two major injuries. It took a few minutes to clear the doubts scoring two goals as soon as they came out in their debut against Alavs. He was just over four seasons before leaving for Milan for 7.5 million.
In order to find testimonies and memories among his former colleagues it is almost obligatory to chat with Roberto Carlos (Sao Paulo, 1973). For many, the best left back in history. As far as this report is concerned, in addition, Ronaldo's roommate with the team since 1993. His friend throughout his career and after. "Memories with Ronnie? Practically everyone! Both with the national team and in Madrid. Copa América titles, important titles and goals, passes … I have known him since '93 that we started playing together. I have participated in almost everything what Ronaldo has experienced in his time, in his life. When he was at Inter or in other clubs, he always spoke to him to find out how he was and he would tell me what was happening. But in the Brazilian team it has been where we have lived the fewest . Share a room with him in all the gatherings, "Roberto Carlos explains to MARCA.
In Real Madrid they were together all day:" We would see each other forever. I finished training and I went home, ol come to m. We spent all the time together. Normal between friends. Friendship and trust was the most important thing: we have lived important moments on and off the field. You earn much more off the field than inside. Ronnie is my brother".
"In the gatherings I, of course, always woke him up. We would have breakfast together, eat at the same table, go back to the room together, tell stories, wake up in the afternoon for training and many times he would pass by to pick him up, or come to find me to go together. And then: television, rest and lots of laughter. Really good atmosphere, from two great friends, "adds Roberto Carlos.
the ones your friend checked? There are hundreds to choose from. With Bara, in that season, no more and no less than 47. With Real Madrid he achieved 104. With Compostela as a reference and one in a derby madrieo, which many did not even come to sit at all. "That goal against Compostela demonstrated the power he has. He has always had. The ability and intelligence. But of course: scoring a goal in a derby, a few seconds after starting … That also marks the career of a footballer That goal against Atlético is unforgettable. We started to play very fast, I gave him the ball and he deceived everyone and scored. He gave us a lot of peace. These two goals marked the life of Ronnie but for This one against Atlético was decisive. He was the best striker in the world, "remembers his friend.
Having a striker like Ronaldo in front of him must be a nightmare for any defense:" The key was that he did not control the ball If he turned around, it was very fast, very powerful, and then to stop him is very, very difficult, "ends Roberto Carlos.
But let's start at the beginning. For the boy who looked like he was going to eat the world with PSV Eindhoven. He arrived in Barcelona already with the rush that he was going to be a star and, at least to his teammates, he convinced them right away. As recalled by Abelardo (Gijn, 1970), today a coach of Espanyol: "He was spectacular. The most powerful striker with whom I have ever shared a team. I only met him for one season in Barcelona but I think it was his best season, when he was only 20 years old. "
He scored goals for several clubs, especially one for Valencia and another, of course, for the Compostela in the Multipurpose San Lzaro which was hard to believe: "That goal perfectly described what Ronaldo was at the time. Strength, speed, control of the ball and the goal always between eyebrows and eyebrows ".
To a youth squad like scar Garca (Sabadell, 1973), it cost very little to see the one that was coming over them: "He was a young boy , very happy, very funny. He had a very good relationship with the whole team and from the first training we saw that he was a different player. It was clear that it was going to help us a lot and you see that it was going to be a world crack, as it was ".
" What most caught my attention is humility. I treated everyone equally and he was always smiling and joking. He took confidence very quickly. Later, when you see him on the field, at the speed he executed everything he wanted, he was impressive. Until Messi's arrival, I never saw a player driving the ball at that speed, so close to the foot and that he could do so many things. I have only seen him and Messi. I have been lucky to have world class teammates, but he is undoubtedly in the top 3 of the best, yes, "added the current coach. Celta de Vigo.
" The first goal that comes to my mind is that of Compostela , and others that marked Valencia, quite good too. Another to Dpor. I was lucky to be very close in some and see at the speed that it did. It was difficult to even catch him to celebrate the goals. It continued at the same speed ", ends scar.
Returned to Spain on the last day of the market, to Real Madrid
Afterwards, Inter enjoyed their goals and accompanied him on two of his serious knee injuries. Recovered, and with time to win a World Cup, he arrived at Real Madrid with the League already started and with problems in the lead. That da Portillo started. Sali Ronaldo and he was devastating. In the stands the rumor was already evident of what was going to happen. This is how he remembers it for MARCA Ivan Helguera (Santander, 1975): "He is one of the most fun players I have had, by far. With astonishing creativity, and with enormous intelligence. I really liked when he scored his first goal at Real Madrid, because he did it as soon as he left. We all had high expectations of him. And in two minutes I already dialed. It was clear that it was special. He is the best player I have ever played with. Not only the best striker. He is undoubtedly the best striker. "
Already a star, and with coaches who handled the left hand very well with requests from the dressing room, Ronaldo He left great performances as a Real Madrid player and many anecdotes in training: "He was very special when it came to work [ laughs ]. He told the coach that "a lot of water kills plants" when we start doing physical work. It was very funny. A very special guy both on and off the pitch. "
That was an anthological Real Madrid, with the galactic world-class players and mega stars, the famous Zidanes and Pavones, Ronaldo, the latter , they remember him with a special affection in a unanimous way. Let's start with Tote (Madrid, 1978): "I remember that we all had to go to the Bernabu to meet him in the dressing room, after training in the old city Deportiva de la Castellana. I was impressed by his appearance. It was a bull. I had never seen such a strong guy in my life. I remember well that he was wearing a Nike shirt with jeans and sneakers. And already the debut because I was less surprised because I already knew who he was, I had followed him a lot and he is the best nine in the world that I have been able to see. With the age that I have and the players that I have seen, for me he is the best. Soccer was a chosen one, one of those that God touches with a wand and puts him in the world to play this game. "
" With We were a phenomenon too. I was 19-20 years old and when the games ended I would tell you, if you were alone, that you would go to dinner with him, where he would be. For that he, Roberto Carlos and Flavio were three of them spectacular. They invited you anywhere they went. And, also, when I did the rabona in Huelva playing the League, he was the one who put his face out for me, first in training the next day and then in the press when they asked him. spectacular port ", adds Tote .
"My experience when I have been at Real Madrid is that the greats tend to be very close and very good people Ronaldo was amazing, even with a boy like me. "
"Without a doubt Old Trafford. When I scored three goals. I was on the bench, which as in many English stadiums I was in the stands, and you noticed the respect of people when they changed him. They applauded him. The fear, the emptiness that was created in the stadium when he took the ball. That is only done by the greats. "
For Borja Fernndez (Orense, 1981) he was more than a wardrobe partner. A friend during all these years and, shortly, possibly his boss at Real Valladolid: "When he arrived I was still in the branch. It was the few that was going up and down with them. Ronaldo was one more step, he was the third followed: Figo, Zidane … and him I thought: it is incredible that they bring this uncle, who has just won the World Cup, who returns to Spain … There was a very very big revolution. I remember that in his debut Portillo played , who had a flower, that day he was not lucky and that day Ronaldo left and scored two as soon as he entered. And he almost put three in. After the game he agreed: "But don't worry, this is not going to be like that every day ".
"When I joined the first team, I was definitely 22 and the relationship was very good. He treated you like one more, he laughed at the jokes. It had no star trail. I don't know if it was the least star of the five. They were all very close. Beckham, Zidane, who was very shy. Neither was going to crack, "remembers Borja.
This anecdote hints at the total absence of star airs that was in Ronaldo's behavior: "In my second year we spent a lot of time together. We bought a boogie, each one of these from the country of making the goat. We hung out with our partners from that moment and we stayed to go to the movies, or to his house. I know we had a lot of relationships. I remember once some friends from Orense came to see me. It was his son's birthday Ronald who is already 20 years old, we played against Bara the next day and they had come to see me to eat. He told me to take them all to his house. We did not know how to get there, because it was not his house, but where the boy's mother lives in La Moraleja . And we got lost. He told me to wait and, In the middle of the birthday, he went out and came looking for us in his car. My friends were hallucinating! It was not only that he invited us, but that my colleagues saw him come looking for us in the cinemas of La Moraleja, where we used to go. Figo was also there with the girls and many people. "
Now, as president of Valladolid, Borja Fernndez hopes to regain the position for which he left the football, once his situation is definitively clarified: "In Valladolid I have seen him many times later. He is an uncle who has clear ideas who has very good people around whom to delegate, and he is important. We usually meet when he is around and of course, we maintain friendship. We have a very beautiful and very good bond. "