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This blog reflects on soccer qua football all over the world. The blog has a specific investment in attractive, attacking football and, as such, focuses on Brazil, the most emphatic historical exponent of the beautiful game.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Ronaldo Luís Nazário de Lima: A Tribute

When Ronaldo retires we will remember his incredible pace and his buck-toothed smile; his slalom runs through midfield; the acceleration that left defenders for dead; the retreat, deep into midfield and then the assault on goal; the stutter step that allowed him to change direction; the dribbling that we hadn’t seen since Garrincha and Maradona; his clinical finishing with either the left foot or the right; the ability to carve out that extra yard of space when surrounded by two or three defenders; the buzz in the mid-1990s about this player from Cruzeiro who had arrived in Europe and was scoring a goal a game; the boldness of his promise to break Just Fontaine’s record on his own soil; his calmness in front of the penalty spot; his friendship with Romario; his instinctive leadership on the field; his enduring respect for his boyhood idol Zico; his record of scoring in every final before World Cup 1998; his goal in the final of the 1997 Copa America against Bolivia in La Paz; his goals for Inter Milan against Spartak Moscow in the UEFA Cup when Inter was down, away from home, on a pitch that resembled sand; his breathtaking performance against Holland in World Cup 1998; his goals in the World Cup 2002 final against Germany after heart wrenching injuries; his tears in his retirement press conference; his love of Corinthians and the passion of their fans; the way he redefined the number 9 jersey; his joy for the game; the way he made the beautiful game beautiful again.

Ronaldo Luís Nazário de Lima, otherwise known as Ronaldo of Corinthians: you changed the sport of football forever. You were the greatest pure striker of all time. We will miss you.

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