Although by the time Ronaldo Luís Nazário de Lima joined Real Madrid was prone to Injuries, he at least made significant impact on the pitch more specially on his debut.
For several years Real Madrid’s on-off president Florentino Perez has seen the value in recruiting World Cup stars.
In 2002 , Real Madrid were hardly in terrible shape. This season they had just bagged the most prestigious title, the Champions League title, credit to former player turned Coach Zinedine Zidane who volleyed in an amazing ball against Bayer Leverkusen.
They were in a contradictory position of the ‘Zidanes y Pavones’ project working by virtue of the European title but letting them down domestically, which meant either way you shook it they needed to spend.
Ronaldo in the season at Inter Milan missed more games due to Injury but fortunately he featured more for the internationals in the same year- 2002. but he was undoubtedly one of the world’s best, or would be if he could stay fit.
After all, this was a man who hadn’t just won the World Cup for his country: there was a strong argument that, without him there, Brazil wouldn’t have come close. He scored in all but one of his country’s matches, and no one else from either side scored in the Selecao’s semi-final or the final in Yokohama.
The 2002 World Cup was Ronaldo’s moment of his own, and a Ballon d’Or was imminent, and to the obvious Real Madrid goes for the best players in the world just like in the case of Cristiano Ronaldo then from Man United to Real Madrid, then they did not hesitate although it did not work immediately but it absolutely did at the end of the day.
Real Madrid’s fans had to wait until October to see their new recruit, with injury keeping him out of the first three games of the season.
Los Blancos picked up seven points from those games and looked impressive in attack, and this may have made it easier for manager Vicente del Bosque to give the Brazilian time to reach full fitness, only introducing him as a substitute on debut.
However, Ronaldo was in no mood to waste any time. He knew as well as we did that his cruciate might go again at no notice, so the best solution was to score as many goals as possible before his body betrayed him again.
Ronaldo was introduced in the 63rd minute replacing Javier Portillo and not surprisingly he was on the target on the 64th minute, scoring his first goal, settling doubting tongues.
In peeling away and letting the ball sail over the heads of two Alaves defenders, Ronaldo showed the difference between him and others: while they were focused on attacking the ball, he was eyeing up his next opportunity to score, treating the ball with an ‘if you build it, he will come’ mentality.
With such certainty in the build-up, Ronaldo was never likely to fluff his lines when it came to finishing the job, hitting the shot with the venom of a movie tough-guy dispatching the villain and making his escape.
Hell, he even manages to arc his body so it’s in the ideal position to run straight into a celebration with the man who laid on the goal.
If the first goal was take-no-prisoners ruthless, the second somehow hits the ‘there’s no way we could have stopped this’ sweet spot even harder.
The three-man attack of Ronaldo, Luis Figo and Steve McManaman moves with such pace and such fluidity it looks like they’re skating through while the Alaves back-line scrambles to stay upright on the ice, culminating in the desperate slides from two defenders in a doomed effort to keep out the Brazilian’s strike.
One of the biggest complaints about turn-of-the-century football video games was the lack of realism, with claims that no one really moved so smoothly and with that sort of speed while also applying those qualities to their shots. With this goal, it felt as though Ronaldo had taken such suggestions as a personal affront.
Sure, he can produce the awkward beauty of the chest-control and finish for his first goal, but the near-robotic dominance isn’t to be sniffed at either.
There aren’t many players who can hit 20 or more goals a season with each one of them being a goal out of nothing or a strike reliant on one’s own unique instincts, but being unable to produce such a thing won’t help you reach the top.
By the end of that season, the Brazilian legend had 30 goals to his name including a memorable Champions League quarter-final hat-trick against Man United and managed to reach the 100-goal mark for Real Madrid before injuries got in the way once more.
When people look back at his career, there’s always an unfair tendency to look at the player he became rather than the one he was at his peak. In order for someone to fall so far, they need to have first ascended to the summit.
Ronaldo might have been more unstoppable earlier in his career, but that first season at Real Madrid remains an example of a player having superstar status foisted upon him and showing why he deserved it at the first time of asking.
Ronaldo remained at Real Madrid until the start of 2007 and played his part as the team lifted an Intercontinental Cup, in which he landed the Man-of-the-Match award, two La Liga titles and a Spanish Super Cup.
During his time at the club, he also topped the La Liga scoring charts in the 2003/04 season. Meanwhile, in his career, he also won the Ballon d’Or on two occasions and twice lifted the World Cup, successes that make him one of the greatest forwards of all time.