Who said life wasn’t ironic? Amidst scandal and violence, Italy overtook Brazil in the controversial FIFA rankings in the number one spot ending in the process Brazil’s outstanding 55-month reign. A Brazilian – Kaka – is now an Italian citizen and Ronaldo – one of the greatest strikers to ever play the game – returns to Serie A.
In the quiet Renaissance town of Siena, former Real Madrid striker Ronaldo conducted his own rebirth. Il Fenomeno scored twice and set up another as he helped pace AC Milan to a 4-3 thrilling victory over Siena this weekend. The Rossoneri (red and black) literally put away the feisty Tuscans on the last play of the game scoring off a corner kick.
While Ronaldo has clearly lost a step, his footwork remains lethal. This is a striker, when all is added up, that still possesses sharp and exquisite skills. He had been unfairly characterized by some as being fat and out of game shape. Sitting on the bench while battling injuries tends to do that.
His prowess did not elude Siena midfielder Simone Vergassola. “Perhaps he’s not as devastating as he was years ago, but he is always decisive and one on one he’s invincible.”
Indeed, all game long Ronaldo was causing problems for the Sienese defense.
It’s a new beginning for Ronaldo as he returns to Italy. Originally in the nerazzuri (black and blue) stripes of Internazionale, Milan is a city prepared to fully embrace his return. AC Milan coach Carlo Ancelotti was clear from the start in thinking that Ronaldo can still achieve great things.
During the 1950s, AC Milan were lead by three Swedes – the legendary Gunnar Nordhal, Nils Liedholm and Gunnar Gren. Together they were known as the Gre-No-li line. Incidentally, if I ever had a son I would name him Gunnar. Can’t get a more masculine name than that. In the late 1980s and early to mid 1990s three splendid Dutchmen in Marco Van Basten, Ruud Gullit and Frank Rijkaard joined an unbreakable back line of Alessandro Costacurta, Paolo Maldini and Franco Baresi to create one of the greatest soccer teams ever.
And now Milan turns to the Brazilians. In the match against Siena, Ronaldo was part of a Brazilian trio formation that included Ricardo Oliviera and Kaka, This instantly gives Milan potent depth up front considering they also have Alberto Gilardino and Filippo “The Pouncer” Inzaghi. While the Brazilians may not bring back the dominance seen in the 1990s with the Dutch, there is no doubt they will influence Milan moving forward.
Ronaldo will not be in the line up against Celtic but it is clear that with him wearing the Milan colors he has given a new dimension to their offense. Ronaldo will once more roam the pitch and he will be looking to carry on a soccer legacy for both Milan and himself.