South America: Ronaldo the Comeback Kid

Ronaldo 1 (Reuters) 

By NESTOR F. SEBASTIAN

It doesn't seem too long ago when many were calling on Ronaldo Luis Nazario de Lima to call it quits after suffering a serious knee injury early last year while playing for A.C.Milan, who let his contract expire and released him. The injury was the third such setback he suffered in his illustrious career.

While there were those that speculated he would retire, O Fenomeno began quietly training with Flamengo in his home country upon his return home to recover from surgery. Little did everyone know that Ronaldo would add another successful outline to his resume.

The famous buck-toothed striker who is sporting a mild 'fro' is currently thriving with Flamengo rival's Corinthians, whom he signed for despite Flamengo's courting before the Brazilian championship began. The resurgence of Ronaldo has excited Corinthians administration that it's actually mulling making a movie about his return to soccer.

And not only are fans, media and the Brazilian federation calling for his return to the national team, Brazil president Lula da Silva also put pressure on national team boss Dunga to consider Ronaldo.

With Adriano out of the picture, at least temporarily, it isn't out of the realm of possibility to see the former three-time FIFA Player of the Year in the yellow shirt in upcoming World Cup qualifiers and the Confederations Cup this summer, where he could face the United States.

Ronaldo currently has eight goals in 10 matches and has his side close to claiming its 26th state title in the Paulista Championship.

Last weekend, Ronaldo netted two goals, including a beauty of a chipper, in Corinthians' 3-1 away leg win against Santos with Pele in attendance. The second leg is set for this Sunday and Corinthians, which is on a 22-game undefeated streak in the tournament, sits in the driver's seat to pick up some more silverware.

And, more importantly, Ronaldo is enjoying playing the game he loves and grew up playing in Rio de Janeiro.

Here are highlights of Ronaldo's goals last weekend:

What do you think about Ronaldo's comeback? Hope to see him face the U.S. in the Confed Cup? Could we see him in MLS?

Share your thoughts below.

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37 Responses to South America: Ronaldo the Comeback Kid

  1. Matt says:

    That last one is a peach.

  2. vasco says:

    The phenom is on the road back.

    Ronaldo is one the all time greats in Brazilian history.

    Vamos Ronaldo

  3. Cam says:

    I would love to see how Gooch and Bocanegra would do against Ronaldo.

    There is a saying in boxing that every fighter has one good fight left in him. I think Ronaldo is proving this to be true in football as well. I’m just glad that he didn’t come to MLS b/c it would have been a disaster.

  4. Rastafari says:

    Sou Ronaldo!!!!!!

    link to youtube.com

  5. mike from linden says:

    I wish we can have play in the MLS but it would probable never happen. He is a living legend to the fullest extent. I believe he could go on any team in the world and be successful. the touch to bring the ball down on the second goal was priceless and the chip…speechless. If Dunga doesnt call him up, FIRE HIM.

  6. ThaDeuce says:

    that second goal was sick. THat shows he has still got it.

  7. ThaDeuce says:

    so was the third!

  8. puffyjrkfan says:

    Ronaldo’s second is outrageous!

  9. wally says:

    His touch is still buttery soft. MLS would be awesome. Brazilian nats is pushing it.

  10. Michael F. says:

    I never understood the criticism. When he’s healthy he ALWAYS scores. Fat or not. I love watching him play. Keep it going, Ro!

  11. mike from linden says:

    If Ronaldo comes to the MLS, he needs to go to the Red Bulls. Why?

    1. Big Market

    2. at least 50,000 a game.

    3. It would be like Pele in the 70′s. From what I know, Everyone thought Pele was on theback end of his career when he came to NASL. What did Pele do? proved them wrong. Ronaldo can do the samething.

    Ronaldo > Beckham and everyone else.

  12. kahlva says:

    Ugh. NO Ronaldo to Red Bulls please. Anyone else can have him.

  13. matt says:

    I think Ronaldo would be a disaster in MLS. He suffered from lack of motivation at Real Madrid, I can’t imagine how lazy he would be in MLS.

  14. Turtle says:

    If there’s a movie…I wonder if they will include the transvite hookers. LOL…still love that story…LOL!

  15. ace says:

    was it me.. or was he offsides almost every time?

  16. LJ says:

    Not impressed. especially what I started thinking about el phenom and the goals that come to mind when i think of him.

    his finishes solid, and the last one very cool, but nothing that tells me this guy belongs with the Brazil MNT over Robinho, Pato etc.

  17. MVK says:

    oh man that 3rd on was great

  18. Aljarov says:

    So of you guys have a bizarre set of [double] standards.

  19. Pat says:

    Whoever said black makes you look thin never met Ronaldo.

  20. dictatorthor says:

    Greatly skilled players find ways to score, and they succeed, if given the chance, well after naysayers suggest they should hang up the boots.

    Case in point Roberto Baggio who was still a quality forward until he retired. He had a bad season at Inter(10 goals in 30 games, really not that bad even), and people wrote him off before he revived his career at Brescia.

    Ronaldo hasn’t had a bad season yet. In fact, his lowest goal to game ratio in his career is still around .33 for a season…which is pretty good.

    It seems to me a lot of people, including LJ on this board, fail to understand what matters in soccer. All goals have equal value on the score sheet. Moreover, positioning is a more important quality in a player than being able to score ridiculous goals or beat players one on one. Ronaldo still has the skill to be flashy, but more than that, he has experience, and his positioning is fantastic. Brazil would do well to include him on their roster.

  21. Carlos says:

    @ ace: Yep, it’s just you. Onside every time.

    Anyway, as a Corinthians fan I love that Ronaldo has made such a brilliant comeback, and I have to admit I was skeptical of the signing when it was announced. He’s proved that skepticism unwarranted and Corinthians is close to a title again and look good for challenging for more this year.

    At the same time, I also think a move to MLS would be a bad idea. Not that I don’t think he could play in MLS. He’d do pretty well, but I think it’s a bad idea for MLS. MLS needs to get away from the “retirement league” mentality and become an “up and comer” league. I’d much prefer seeing young, exciting, and unpredictable talents like Fredy Montero as the main imports.

  22. djbonusbeats says:

    I’d be interested in seeing Ronaldo no matter what his age. I don’t think that should prevent MLS from signing him.

  23. not a Columbus fan says:

    do they just not call offsides in Brazil?

  24. brandon says:

    ronaldo’s football brain in the attacking third is one of the best ever, he will always score goals because he is a genius in front of the net, but… brazilian national team? i think the pace of the game at the international level is too fast for his fragile knees and current figure.

  25. Lu.M. says:

    my all time fave since his days at Barca. I hope he keeps recovering fitness. Seeing him wiggle his finger after he scored brought chills — it reminds me of one too many great soccer moments he’s provided.

  26. Haig says:

    “do they just not call offsides in Brazil? ”

    They understand what “level with the 2nd to last defender” means.

  27. Paul says:

    How bad is the goalkeeping in Brazil?

  28. Travis says:

    he was not offside on either goal. The first one was close, but the defender pulled up just a bit late.

    Ronaldo has been great with Corinthians. As for the Selacao, maybe a 20 minute sub. He can score, he has great control, but he does not run. I watched most of the game on Sunday, he wasn’t exactly “active.” Both goals were from him playing to his strenghts and a bit of luck. He plays high, and puts himself in position to recieve the ball. But, outside of a few chances, he was invisible.

    I love the story. And I hope he continues to do well.

  29. Adam M. says:

    Ronaldo is very likely to get the call if he keeps producing, particularly if Adriano isn’t called. Dunga has said as much. His touch, creativity, and eye for the goal remain world class, and contrary to one or two comments above, he does run, as evidenced by the goal he recently scored running down the ball from the center line before slotting it past the keeper. Luis Fabiano and Pato are Brazil’s best strikers right now, as Dunga tends to use Robhino in support. That means there is a place for an in-form Ronaldo as the third striker (assuming no Adriano). Given the upcoming Confederations Cup and many WC qualifiers, I would be very surprised if Ronaldo doesn’t get called up soon, if for no other reason that to see if he can cut it on the international level.

  30. sammysounder says:

    People alone does not make a market!!!!!!!

    The market for space heaters in Juneau, AK is larger than the market for space heaters in Mexico City.

    I’ve seen little evidence that Red Bulls are a “big market” team.

  31. angelo says:

    “How bad is the goalkeeping in Brazil?”

    AHAHAHAHAHHAHAAHHA

    Dida. Julio Ceasar. Marcos. Doni. Rogerio Ceni are all brasilian.

  32. Mike says:

    Sammy,

    Perhaps that little stadium that RB is building in a small town 10 miles outside of Manhattan should be evidence enough. And what’s even more awesomer, they’re building it with cash even tho 15K-20K show up on average at Giants Stadium.

    Have fun in that football stadium.

  33. Awesomer says:

    Mike… until you witness the Sounders crowd at Qwest for yourself Id hold your judgment of out FootballStadium.

  34. Allegre says:

    He is the phenomenon still! He has a foot like no other player. He’s going to stay in Brasil where he is happy. There’s more money coming into Brasil and futbol there and he will help to build it up so that more players (OK maybe not the topliners) will stay and play there.

    Go Timao!

  35. Chris says:

    Not so obvious watching the YouTube clip, but he’s very much onside on the goals. The first one (Corithian’s second goal) looks close in the clip here, but on a larger screen you can see Santos’s right back is a lot further up the field (covering another Corithians player). A replay from another angle showed that Ronaldo actually had a few yards to go before he would have been offside.

  36. arkjayback says:

    OMG, he was perfect for MLS. Ronaldo was the prototypical DP, only behind Beckham, Ronaldinho, Ljungberg, Del Piero, and Henry in the combination of likelihood and probability of success.

  37. jonathan says:

    That chip, was pure class… World Class… I can’t believe Ronnie still has it…Roooooonaaallldoooooo