20 years ago, Ronaldo Nazario suffered a terrible injury that created a turning point for his flourishing career.
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In 2000, Ronaldo was considered the best player in the world at the time. But he broke his right knee kneecap in the first leg of the Italian Cup final between Inter and Lazio.
Just minutes after coming off the bench in the second half, Ronaldo tried to dribble past Fernando Couto but suddenly collapsed and hugged his knee in pain.
According to Dr. Guillen, this is the most serious injury because the tendon allows the knee to run, kick, dribble and when it is broken, everything ends.
Dr Gerard Saillant, who once treated Ronaldo, said: “Miracles do not exist. He needs at least 8 months to recover before playing again. Even then, me and no one could say that he would play again. In any case, it will be a long and difficult process”.
Indeed, Ronaldo’s knees have been repeatedly questioned. Only 144 days before, on 11/11, he also blocked tendons in the match Inter – Lecce. At Christmas 1996, he had a rare disease in his knee that led to permanent tendonitis. Corticosteroids and anti-inflammatory drugs have become an inseparable companion since Ronie also played at PSV Eindhoven.
“It’s all the fault of PSV. They allowed him to assimilate as a child. As a result, his muscles do not match the bone structure of the knee”, said Bernardino Santi, former anti-doping coordinator of the Brazilian Football Federation.
This time, until March 8, 2001, Ronaldo was discharged from the hospital and had to wait until November 4 to play the first official match against … Lecce.
In 2018, Diego Maradona once declared, if not for injury, Ronaldo would be the greatest player in history. Indeed, when the kneecap was broken, Ronaldo was only 23 and 3 months, scoring 233 goals, more than Messi (148) and Cristiano Ronaldo (115) at the same age.
“I suffered two very serious injuries that took away my 3-year career, which made me suffer the consequences and anticipate the end of my career,” Ronaldo lamented.