Forget Cristiano, for many of us who were born pre-1990 the “real Ronaldo” is without a doubt Ronaldo Luiz Nazario de Lima, or simply “Il Fenomeno.”
Was Ronaldo the most complete striker ever? Probably. At the top of his form, the two-time Ballon d’Or winner was virtually unplayable and his ability to shake up the entire back line with one quick turn translated into an astonishing goal tally.
In the seven years of the 1990s that the Brazilian was active (1993-1999), he scored 197 goals in 236 games and would very likely have got more were it not for a few injuries. It’s shame that we can’t include his 83 in 127 while at Real Madrid.
However, as with any superstar, the enduring image is always the controversial one, in this case being the circumstances surrounding the 1998 World Cup final against France. Ronaldo was included in the team despite being clearly unfit to play having suffered a seizure the night before, and Brazil were soundly beaten 3-0.