Things to Know:
Ronaldo is regarded by many in the sport as one of the greatest and most complete forwards of all time. Dubbed Il Fenômeno (the phenomenon), he was a prolific goalscorer, and despite being more of an individualistic attacker, he was also capable of providing assists for his teammates, due to his vision, passing and crossing ability. He was an extremely powerful, fast, and technical player, as well as being a composed finisher. He was capable of playing in several offensive positions, although his preferred role was that of a striker, and he was able to use both feet, despite being naturally right footed. Ronaldo was highly regarded for his technical ability, and he is considered one of the most skillful individual dribblers in the game.Along with Brazilian compatriot Romário and African star George Weah, Ronaldo was seen as a new breed of striker in the 1990s who would also operate outside the penalty area before running with the ball towards goal: Ronaldo was frequently capable of beating several players when undergoing individual dribbling runs at speed, and he was also equally competent in one on one situations, due to his ball control, acceleration, agility, balance, quick feet and technical skills. In one on one situations, Ronaldo would often use elaborate feints to trick and beat defenders and goalkeepers; he most notably popularized the use of many football tricks and skills, such as the elastico, the step over, the nutmeg, among others. In his prime, Ronaldo was an extremely fast player with great acceleration, which made him a threat for opposing defences when he undertook individual dribbling runs during counter-attacks.His coach at Barcelona, Bobby Robson, commented: “He was the fastest thing I’ve ever seen running with the ball. Had he managed to stay free of injury, he had every chance of becoming the best footballer ever”, while Lionel Messi states: “He was the best striker I’ve ever seen. He was so fast he could score from nothing, and could shoot the ball better than anyone.” Ronaldinho called Ronaldo “the most complete striker there has ever been.” Ronaldo was also a strong and powerful player who could shield the ball from the opposition, with former Italian defender Alessandro Nesta (who faced Ronaldo in a high-profile one on one duel in the 1998 UEFA Cup final) stating: “Ronaldo is the hardest attacker I’ve ever had to face. He was impossible to stop.” With his quick reactions and anticipation, he regularly beat defenders to the ball, and as a finisher he was effective with his head, and could finish well both inside and outside the penalty area. In addition to these attributes, Ronaldo was an accurate free-kick and penalty kick taker. At his physical peak in the 1990s, Ronaldo later became severely affected by serious knee injuries he would suffer from late 1999 onward and the subsequent weight gain during his inactivity, which limited his speed, fitness, and mobility.