A Brief History of Ronaldo at Inter

A Brief History of  Ronaldo at Inter
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In 1997, Ronaldo had just finished one of
the greatest individual seasons of all time at Barcelona. He was loved by a club and a city that lives
for football, and a promising team was built around him. He could have done pretty much what he liked
there, but instead he moved to Inter to do it all again. And, for a short while, he really did. Ronaldo arrived at Inter as the man to finally
bring them a league title. They hadn’t won a
Scudetto since 1989 and had only two in the previous 26 years, all while their Milanese
neighbours had been hoovering up the trophies. But Ronaldo was their great hope, the
young man on whom they spent $27million – a world record fee, making him the only man other than Diego Maradona to have broken that record twice. To say Ronaldo’s arrival was highly-anticipated
in Italy would be an understatement. Apathy had been growing and attendances shrinking in the years before he signed, but that summer
Inter sold 51,000 season tickets, as opposed to the 16,000 the year before. Their main sponsor, Pirelli, produced a brilliant advert in which Ronaldo stood on one foot, arms
outstretched and standing over Rio de Janeiro like Christ the Redeemer in black and blue
stripes, with tyre tread on the sole of his other foot and the slogan ‘Power is nothing
without control’ beneath. Ronaldo’s debut was upstaged by Alvaro Recoba,
a fellow new signing who came off the bench against Brescia to score two late goals
and salvage a victory. But after that he was off
and running, scoring eight goals in his next six games, including a brilliant hat-trick
against Piacenza in the Coppa Italia. At the end of the year he was voted FIFA World Player of the Year for a second time, the first Inter player ever to receive the award, and although they finished five points behind Juventus in the
title race, Ronaldo scored 25 goals in the league, 34 overall: no small feat in a country as famous for its merciless defences as Italy. They also won the UEFA Cup, a lollipopping Ronaldo capping a 3-0 victory in the final over Lazio. But under all of this was a nagging feeling
that something wasn’t right in his knee. It had caused him problems in the past, and while the knee might not have been the source of the remarkable episode that nearly saw him miss
that summer’s World Cup final, it felt like a gently ticking time bomb. Nevertheless, the following season Inter still
leant on Ronaldo. “Taking the field without him
is like leaving home in winter without an overcoat,” said midfielder Diego Simeone. They went cold quite a lot: increasing concerns over the pain in his knee meant Ronaldo only
started 19 league games, but he still scored 14 goals. Around him, the club was in chaos,
getting through four managers in the season and ultimately only finishing in 8th place. That summer’s Copa America, in which Ronaldo
looked back to his best as he helped Brazil win the tournament, provided some relief,
but the following season would be where his previous problems came to a head. After the arrival of new manager Marcelo Lippi and new record signing Christian Vieri, Ronaldo found
himself on the bench in the opening weeks of the season. He was in the starting line-up by November,
but in a game against Lecce he felt a crack in his knee, which turned out to be
a split in his patella tendon. After surgery in Paris, Ronaldo made his comeback in the Coppa Italia final, against Lazio in April. But just seven
minutes after coming on as a substitute, he collapsed to the floor in agony: this time the same patella tendon had snapped completely. He missed the entire 2000/01 season, painstaking
recovery taking place in Brazil, the USA and France. Eventually he returned in the autumn of 2001,
but his time out had caused other problems, and comebacks were curtailed
by various thigh injuries. Inter manager Hector Cuper rapidly lost patience, often refusing to pick Ronaldo even when he was fit, and the club hierarchy sided with him, sowing
the seeds for what would happen that summer.​ Nevertheless, when an injury to Vieri meant
Cuper almost had to play Ronaldo, he scored some crucial goals as Inter went into their
final game, against Lazio, in pole position for the title. But Cuper substituted Ronaldo at half-time,
causing him to break down in tears in full view of the cameras, in the same stadium his
knee had shattered almost two-and-a-half years earlier. Nevertheless, Luiz Felipe Scolari had more faith in Ronaldo, and selected him for that summer’s World Cup. Ronaldo didn’t quite win the tournament on
his own, but that wasn’t far from being the truth. Apart from anything else, it confirmed that
he was back. Despite the club paying medical bills and
supporting Ronaldo through his recovery, the retention of Cuper meant that Ronaldo had
no intention of staying at Inter. He handed in a
transfer request, and while Barcelona, Manchester United and Arsenal were all mentioned,
he only wanted Real Madrid. The deal took months, involved a Machiavellian
attempt by Barcelona to scupper it and was nearly derailed when Real president Florentino
Perez’s son used their dial-up internet connection, thus preventing Inter from calling to confirm, with just hours to go before the transfer deadline. But in the end the move was confirmed, for
a fee of €22million, plus Argentinean winger Santi Solari. Ronaldo played 99 times for Inter, scoring
59 goals: an excellent record for anyone, never mind a striker who had spent most of his five seasons at the club out with devastating
injuries. But ultimately his time there represents one
of Italian football’s great ‘what ifs’. If Ronaldo had stayed fit, and been as good as he could have been, what could they have
achieved….?

100 thoughts on “A Brief History of Ronaldo at Inter

  1. If his injuries were not there, who knows what he could have done. Same with Adriano, who reminded me of Ronaldo. Who knows what Adriano could have been.

  2. Injury free Ronaldo is the best player ever or close to it. He hadn't even reached his prime and I'm sure prime Ronaldo would be the GOAT. I always compare him to Derrick Rose in basketball. A sad what if story…

  3. Ronaldo had agreed a new contract with FCB, but at the last moment the president withdrew saying it was too pricey and economically not viable, so Inter paid & he went. I heard his knee problems might've been due to steroids he took while at PSV, he grew into a monster in just 2 years, arriving as 18 y old, in the 2nd season he had a long knee injury (ticking time bomb as described in the video). So FCB might've been right to sell, considering they received 27M USD and bought the club legend Rivaldo for 26M USD…
    Sadly when I google Ronaldo, Cristiano comes 1st, and the 2nd result is Ronaldo (Brazilian footballer). Sadly his enormous physical strength became his greatest weakness.

  4. who's the best between Portuguese Ronaldo or Brazilian Ronaldo ??

    For me : The Portugal Guy winning in the statistic and trophy collection but Brazilan Ronaldo always be my favourite Ronaldo

  5. Best player in the works officially… and Barca wouldn’t make him their best paid player.. still treating him like s young player.. so…
    Barca’s fault for not keeping him

  6. He was Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo combined. Power, speed and agility mixed with incredible dribbling ability and finishing. He would’ve scored an insane amount of goals without his injuries

  7. I haven't watched Pelé, I haven't watch Maradona, but I have watched him play, and for me he is the best! The best striker to ever play the game!

  8. Maybe most people would disagree with my point but I This is my thought Ronaldo demanded his whole body to play on his highest level and that was his greatest strength But in the same time his greatest weakness For me if he played carefully because of the injury he wouldn’t be what he is today He had to get those injuries because of how he played and otherwise he wouldn’t be legendary R9 and one of the GOATS My point is Ronaldo which we have seen was his superior version You just can’t play so ruthless without getting an injury and also by playing carefully he wouldn’t be what he is

  9. He is my favourite striker of all-time. He had it all, power, balance and speed; plus, he could kick bullets with either foot from distance and had a great attacking I.Q. The complete forward for sure.

  10. man i grew up wtaching him play….if it wasnt for his injuries he would surely be the greatest of all time…even with those injuries hes still one of the greats

  11. If Ronaldo hadn't suffered all those injuries and been able to play most of the matches every season, nobody would refer to Cristiano in the abbreviated way as "Ronaldo". He would be "Cristiano", "CR7" or "Cristiano Ronaldo", but there would be only one "Ronaldo". And his name would probably be mentioned every time the argument started who's the greatest footballer of our time, or even all time. The argument would be whether it's Messi, Cristiano, or Ronaldo.

  12. That 2002 Brazil side nearly failed to qualify for the World Cup. Without Ronaldo, they'd have had a much, much tougher time winning that competition.

  13. Had the injuries not impacted so massively Ronaldo's career, he would have won more than 5 Ballon'dors and would have been the GOAT, having played in 5 top clubs in 3 countries.

  14. 27 million for one of the best of all time nowadays clubs would be payin 100 mil to buy an overrated french kid who is lightyears behind r9s level of individual skill

  15. There is something about him that makes him very special in the eye of supporters at that time.

    Luiz Ronaldo, El Fenomeno

  16. Its absurd the amount of times that I watched this video, thank you, it’s amazing. And that simeone quote is the best to define this man. I love Ronaldo

  17. my favorite player ever, even when he was fat and ppl said he was done, he was a star for corinthians and scored some amazing goals

  18. There's actually a mistake, Ronaldo is not the first Inter Milan player who won the FIFA award, Lothar Matthäus received it few years earlier and, at this point, somebody alse could have won it …. I haven't checked

  19. With the injuries ronaldo achieved only 80% of his potential. imagine where he would be with out the bad luck of injuries.

  20. If he stayed healthy we would be talking about him on the first place of best players instead Messi, Maradona or Pelé. Sadly he didnt make it, cause he had the potential; thats why CR7 is so incredible, his body is tough.

  21. He & Messi played the best football during their teenage years but only Messi stayed at same level and improved. Ronaldo Fenomeno – real Ronaldo of football.

  22. Ronaldo had the 9 shirt and was the greatest 9 in the world (possibly ever). The image with the 10 bad…good video for the rest

  23. We've been fucking unlucky with talented players, due to injuries, poor management and other situations:
    – Ronaldo, double crack
    – Roberto Carlos to Real Madrid because Hodgson favoured Pistone
    – Pirlo to Milan before he became a champion
    – Bonucci, same
    – Seedorf to Milan for Coco
    – Cannavaro to Juventus, after a time of injuries, again Cuper, and maybe Moggi asking him to fake injuries worse than what they were
    – Coutinho, that we knew was strong, starting to finally shine only away
    – Balotelli, one of the greatest italian talents of his generation, but a shitty head
    – The short times of Bergkamp, Sammer, Robbie Kean

    and..

    – Adriano. He could have been one of the greatest. But his father died and he coudn't take it, not in that moment of his life atleast.

  24. R9 is the God of football in his prime no one has ever reached a higher level. 1995-1998 Ronaldo is like a 99 ranked player no one has ever reached that level again not even Messi or CR7

  25. the part about the first inter player winning fifa player of the year is nonsense, Lothar Matthäus won it twice at Inter

  26. this guy is the reason I love Inter and Brazil since I was a child. The perfect striker. God level player. There is only one single strategy for Inter… pass it to R9 and let him finished. Dribble 99. Shot accuraccy 99. Speed 99. Every Goal keeper nightmare. The best number 9 ever. The true Ronaldo. R9… missed him so much. I was cried when Inter lost against Lazio in 2002 season. Miss you R9… the Legend. The Phenomenon…

    And until now I am still Interisti because of you R9… because of you

  27. Ronaldo is my favourite player of all time, he had the most raw ability of any player I've ever seen, to be out for so long it's a miracle he was able to carry his team to a world cup

  28. He is one of the greats, but nowhere near the best of all time; his game wasn't complete enough, and disappeared in key moments. He is remembered mostly for his performances with the Brazilian national team where he was was surrounded by one of the greatest generations of players. At club level, he struggled with injuries, but also with his weight. He couldn't adhere to the strict dietary discipline that players have to adhere to nowadays. Moreover, he was a huge let down in the champions league. Look at the times he was eliminated, and you'll see how the guy just used to disappear.

  29. Short career but his best was better than anyone's best. This man was lethal.he had everything, he had speed and acceleration, he had vison and creativity with that Brazilian flair, excellent dribbler, he had good size and strength, clinical finisher good passer for a striker. Top form Ronaldo is the first guy I'm picking on my all time team. Can't think of a better number 9.

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