There are some football fans who firmly believe – and perhaps with good reason – that we’d now be talking about Ronaldo Nazario as the GOAT if it wasn’t for the serious injuries he suffered during his career.
As a teenager bursting onto the scene, Ronaldo was frighteningly good. It was almost like he was playing a completely different sport to everyone else.
In the days before social media, back in the mid-to-late 1990s, clips of the lightning-quick youngster beating defenders for fun and scoring incredible solo goals were shown on TV every now and again and on VHS compilation videos.
After one ridiculous season with Barcelona, where he scored 47 goals in 49 games, Ronaldo moved to Inter Milan in 1997.
But it was in Italy where Ronaldo suffered a couple of career-threatening knee injuries, which resulted in the Brazilian only making 99 appearances for Inter over the course of five seasons.
He went on to score 104 goals in 177 games for Los Blancos. Although he wasn’t quite as spectacular as those early incredible years of his career, he was still world-class.
Ronaldo left the Bernabeu for AC Milan in 2007 before bringing the curtain down on his glittering career in 2011 following three years with Corinthians.
Six years later, Ronaldo took part in a Real Madrid Legends game against AS Roma Legends at the Bernabeu – and the footage from his 33-minute appearance still brings smiles to footballs fans’ faces in 2021.
The five-minute YouTube video has amassed a whopping 43 million views since it was uploaded in June 2017, and you’re in for a real treat if you’ve never seen it…
“He is the kind of person that you like without knowing him,” Jonathan Arguedas wrote in the YouTube comments.
“This really put a smile on my face. Missing the Ronaldo’s golden era,” another fan said.
While another view wrote: “Forever a legend. You may get older, slower, and overweight. But you never lose that class on the ball.”
Ronaldo played with a beaming smile and pulled off a few nice moves, including a trademark step-over, before leaving the pitch to a standing ovation from the crowd.
You can see how happy he was to be back out there on the pitch while receiving such a warm reception from the crowd.
Real Madrid fans can be famously hard to please but their eternal love for ‘R9’ was clear for all to see that afternoon.