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Was the world able to see the true potential of Ronaldo 'O Fenômeno'?

Pranay Munda
2.83K   //    23 Sep 2017, 10:57 IST

Aged just 20, Ronaldo won the FIFA World Player of the Year in 1997. He would also go on to win the coveted prize again in 1997 and 2002.
Aged just 20, Ronaldo won the FIFA World Player of the Year in 1996. He would also go on to win the coveted prize again in 1997 and 2002.
"Ronaldo is the hardest attacker I’ve ever had to face. He was impossible to stop" -Alessandro Nesta
"Ronaldo was my hero. He was the best striker I’ve ever seen. He was so fast he could score from nothing, and could shoot the ball better than anyone" -Lionel Messi

When players such as Alessandro Nesta and Lionel Messi make such quotes, you would assume that the player was of the highest calibre, and was able to realize his full potential at the peak of his career (which in modern football is somewhat referred to between 26-30 years of age, with certain exceptions of course).

However, the career of Ronaldo Luís Nazário de Lima has certainly left the football fans around the world wondering about what could have been.

Also read: 9 things you probably didn't know about Ronaldo

To experienced a glorious career as Ronaldo's might be any footballer’s dream, but owing to his prowess on the football field, one just cannot stop wondering about how much more he could have achieved, and left the fans in complete awe and astonishment if it had not been for his continuous injuries.

The boy from Brazil made his professional debut at just the age of 16.

During the same year, he announced himself to the people of Brazil, and gained nation-wide attention when he scored 5 goals in a match.

From that moment on, he never looked back and kept moving forward with goals coming thick and quick at PSV Eindhoven, FC Barcelona, Real Madrid and Inter Milan.


Winning the award for the best player at the FIFA World Cup in 1998, ahead of the likes of Didier Deschamps and Laurent Blanc, Ronaldo had shown how he was going to mesmerize the world with his football skills and prowess in the coming years.

Ronaldo won the Golden Boot during Brazil's triumph at the 2002 World Cup held in South Korea and Japan. He had won the 1994 World Cup in the US as well.
Ronaldo won the Golden Boot during Brazil's triumph at the 2002 World Cup held in South Korea and Japan. He had previously won the World Cup in 1994 as well.

Sadly, his future proved not to be as smooth as many would have wished, owing to a lot of injuries which he faced during his career.

He injured his knee twice after the FIFA World Cup in 1998 and barely played until the next World Cup in 2002.

He returned to the Brazil squad and formed a formidable partnership with the then young Ronaldinho and Rivaldo.

Despite not playing much football prior to the World Cup, he still managed to score 8 goals during the tournament, 2 of which came in the victory against Germany in the final.

Ronaldo then moved to Real Madrid and was on course to win the treble with the Los Blancos during his second season.

However, another knee injury sidelined him during the business end of the season and Real lost all on three fronts.

He retired in 2011, after spells at AC Milan and Corinthians following his career at Real Madrid, with injuries following him throughout.

Ronaldo was known for his pace, power, dribbling skills and his ability to shoot even from the tightest of angles.

While scoring goals continuously, he was also a regular assist provider for his teammates during his career.

Also read: Celebrating Ronaldo: The greatest World Cup striker of all time

He was one of the few players who could receive the ball in the midfield and then give his opponents a run for their money with his close control and direct running.

 All this makes us wonder about whether 'The Phenomenon' was really able to realize his full potential owing to the numerous serious injuries which he faced throughout his career.

If the medical facilities which are available today, were present during that time, then maybe Ronaldo might have been able to get more playing time and get injured less frequently.

He would have been able to score tons of more goals and create records, win a lot of more of trophies and mesmerize the football world like never before.

Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo might be redefining football presently, with all of their football skills and achievements, but if the kid from Brazil had stayed injury-free, then he might have just become the best ever.

Here is a clip showing his genius on the football field, leaving everyone exhilarated with his immeasurable talent.

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