Obrigado, Fenomeno

According to a number of reports, Ronaldo will retiring tomorrow. He will be missed.

I don’t remember much of that dreary 1994 World Cup Final at the Rose Bowl, but somewhere in my drunken haze, I remember telling my friend, “wouldn’t it be great if they put that 17 year old Ronaldo kid in and he scored the game winner?”

Parreira didn’t, of course, and Brazil walked off with a tetra regardless.

It was tough to get news in the web’s salad days, but I always paid attention to anything Ronaldo did. I distinctly remember thinking a promising career had come to an abrupt, pre-mature and heart breaking end when he injured his knee at PSV. He made it back to score 30 goals for Barcelona at the age of 20.

When I was 20, I was trying to score, but my success rate wasn’t as prolific. If I was going to win a ball award, let’s just say it would not have been golden. It may have been just me, but he always seemed to make scoring goals look so easy. He had a lot of practice.

He was also able to redeem himself after that weirdness at St. Denis in ‘98 with his 8-goal World Cup in 2002, including 2 in the final. And that was after another horrific knee injury. He finished with 15 World Cup goals, which is more than anyone… for now.

Cruzeiro, PSV, Barcelona, Inter, Real Madrid, AC Milan. Corinthians, and Brazil. Imagine what his padded resume might look like.

Even after his third knee injury and a spare tire late thirtysomethings can appreciate, he still managed to score decent amount of goals in what turned out to be his swan song at Corinthians.

I followed Ronaldo’s career closer than most because he was the first world-wide super star that was younger than I was. Now these guys are hangin’ em up. It sucks getting old, even for legendary immortals like Ronaldo.