Brazilian icon Ronaldo marked the re-opening of the iconic Maracana Stadium in truly fitting style as he scored a sublime goal in an all-star friendly charity match.
The stadium, which in its pomp could hold up to 200,000 supporters, has been undergoing an extensive refurbishment for the last three years ahead of the 2014 World Cup - and there was plenty of excitement on show as a match between ‘Friends of Bebeto’ and ‘Friends of Ronaldo’ finished 8-5 to the former Real Madrid and Barcelona striker’s team.
Washington hit the first ever goal to be scored at the brand new 78,000-seater stadium, but it was Ronaldo who scored the pick of the night, demonstrating his old speed and finesse as he dummied past his marked and fired low into the net in front of 30,000 people.
Sadly it didn’t go perfectly smoothly on the night of the re-opening, with the media in Brazil pointing out flaws in the stadium.
Folha de Sao Paulo reported that there were still plenty of unfinished aspects to the stadium, while there was ‘uneven flooring’, ‘flooding in the VIP area’ and a ‘dysfunctional lift’.
They also report that that workers were still finishing off parts of the stadium while some turnstiles and gates weren’t working.
The construction, which has gone over-budget and been completed four months late, has been beset by problems.
At least someone was happy to see the stadium open, and Ronaldo said he was thrilled to have been part of the first ever fixture at venue in Rio.
"I'm happy to see the stadium ready again. The Maracana is a symbol of this country," he said.
England will have the honour of playing in the first senior game at the stadium, when they take on Brazil in an international friendly in June 2 before the Confederations Cup.
Check out Ronaldo's great goal here:
Full match-highlights here:
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