Highest scorer in the history of the World Cups (15 goals), protagonist when Brazil won its fifth World title in 2002 and now, member of the Local Organising Committee (LOC) Administrative Council for the 2014 FIFA World Cup. In an interview to the World Cup Portal, Ronaldo reminisced about the World Cup when he was a child, affirmed that Romario is the most decisive goal scorer with whom he played and seemed confident about Brazil’s performance in 2014. See the written interview and the video below with Ronaldo.
The World Cup in his childhood and adolescence
I have great memories from the World Cup. I remember that on my road in Bento Ribeiro in Rio de Janeiro, we would watch the matches at a neighbour’s house. He would open up his house, put the TV in the backyard and dished out soft drinks and chips to all the kids on the street. He had some perks with the Air Force and shared it with us. It was really cool, all the kids watching the matches together. After the games we would all go play football. Every kid would become their favourite player.
A World Cup at 17
I didn’t even want to win a World Cup so young, which was a great experience. But important really, was to experience that with the great players of that time such as Romario, Bebeto, Dunga, Mauro Silva, Raí. I learnt a lot. I think that was the beginning of an amazing story, as the experience of that time together with those winning players was great. I really took advantage of that time.
The 1998 World Cup final
I always say and it is always a question that comes up. It is not a problem talking about that match. In football, myths are created, but at the end of the day it is simple. Football is a sport where two teams face each other, one wins and the other loses (almost always). In that final Brazil lost because France played better during the 90 minutes. A shame, as we had played well until that final match. In the final we played very badly.
2002 World Cup: comeback and glory
It was very difficult, not because of the 1998 final, but because of the injury that I had suffered in 2000. Then, I had to go through the recovery period, during which I did not play. To recover in such a short time, near the World Cup was the hardest. But then, the World Cup came and I was graced with the opportunity to play. Big Phil believed in me and thank God, everything worked out. I was able to overcome my condition and we won the title, the most important one for me.
A hero and partner of the Brazil team
My hero has always been Zico, but I played with some amazing players. Romario is one of them. I did not have the chance to play with Zico, but I think that Romario, at least for me, was the most decisive Brazilian player who I played with, he was a great goal scorer, finisher, skilful, opportunist. I think I learnt all of that from him.
Record number of goals scored in World Cup
Certainly someone will break this record. Records are made to be broken. Therefore, I do not know how long it will last, but someone will break it. It is only natural. The next real threat is Klose, who plays for Germany and may play in the next World Cup. Let’s wait, but regardless of who breaks it, this does not delete the history made, or the goals I scored.
World Cup X Retirement
I played in the World Cups that I could and enjoyed every moment during my time. I would have liked to have played in more World Cups, but physically it was not possible.
Expectations for the 2014 World Cup
We still have two years to go before the World Cup. The Brazilian team has gone through a big change, practically a whole generation. Now, we have to wait for this new generation to gel and hope that they have a great World Cup in our country.
A message to Brazilians
We already do this well. We play host very well to foreigners, the tourist. We should continue being happy, friendly and showing good manners to foreign visitors. I think that Brazilians have to show that we respect these basic and fundamental values even more in the World Cup period.