Wednesday, 8 June 2011

Farewell Ronaldo Fenômeno

All good things come to an end. And so it was yesterday. A wet and windy thunderstorm in São Paulo preceded the official farewell of Ronaldo at the legendary Pacaembu stadium where he used to play with Corinthians. The guy was clearly overweight, out of shape and out of his depth and whilst I was amazed the medics let him on the pitch at all nobody else cared; the city had stopped to say “obrigado” to  “o Fenômeno” and nothing else mattered.

Official Goodbye to Ronaldo
And Fenômeno he is. Possibly the greatest number 9 we’ve seen in the modern game he was head and shoulders above his team mates at pretty much every club he went to as well as breaking all imaginable records at the highest level for the seleção. But amid the fanfare and the tears and the memories the burning question was; who on earth is going to replace him? And that is what many of the secondary headlines in today’s newspapers have picked up on. You would have thought the football factory that is Brazil would be able to produce another number 9 but the expectations are unreasonably high. The current coach has already tried André, Diego Tardelli, Hulk, Nilmar, Fred, Alexandre Pato, Jonas as well as Leandro Damião, none of which cut the mustard when you compare with the Fenômeno. Adriano and Luis Fabiano are a little better but only a little and both are ageing and injured.

So who will be the next Fenômeno? Ironically Ronaldo himself may have the answer. In fact he has already told the press who his best replacement is and it is none other than the very player he is now an agent for. It sounds a bit biased but then again we are talking about Neymar, the wonder kid from Santos (Santos is a city in São Paulo state where a certain Pelé began his career) . And when Ronaldo entered the pitch last night, it was Neymar who immediately created a chance for him, not just because he’s his boss but because the player has the unusual ability to create something out of nothing, the creativity, the wow factor. And although he’s only 19, he’s already a huge media icon in Brazil with rumours afoot that the big European clubs will come in for him soon but for now he’s just another wonder kid and to surpass Ronaldo is a big big ask…

So for today at least, let’s just pay homage and say Adeus to the one and only Fenômeno!


Unknown said...

Fuck o Rey, viva a República!

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