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Discussion Starter #1
Waiting for the story to break out, he looked deflated.
 

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But unlike Ronaldo, Becker cleaned out all the burgers at Burger King
 

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The stage was set for a thrilling final act: Brazil's wonderful entertainers, heirs to a glorious history, against a France team that represented the ideal of a nation. At least, that was how it was billed. The truth, as ever, was a touch more complex, as the world was not treated to a glorious performance from Brazil, nor their leading man following the bedlam surrounding his selection. In fact, while some guessed Ronaldo had initially been ruled out due to an ankle or knee injury, the truth behind his strangely listless demeanour during the game was far more serious. As Richard Williams wrote in The Guardian: "The anonymity of Ronaldo's performance will take some explaining."

It later transpired that the Inter striker had suffered a fit while sleeping on the day of the game. Details emerged over the following days and weeks that made for grim reading. Defender Goncalves revealed: "Ronaldo was foaming at the mouth, struggling, breathing with a lot of difficulty and very pale". Hotel director Paul Chevalier heard people crying "he's dead, he's dead", while room-mate Roberto Carlos blamed the pressure of holding the hopes of a nation on his shoulders, as well as the dreams of marketing men. "Ronaldo was scared about what lay ahead," he said. "The pressure had got to him and he couldn't stop crying ... here was a 21-year-old player, the best player in the world, surrounded by contracts and pressure. Something had to give. And when it did, it happened to be the day of the World Cup final."

Nothing untoward was discovered in the neurological and cardiac tests he underwent in hospital, ensuring the exact cause of his convulsions were a mystery and leaving the incident conveniently open to conspiracy theories - including allegations of mystery injections or problems in his private life. What mattered was that a young man's life had been in danger. Coach Zagallo addressed his players in the team hotel and retold the story of how Brazil won the 1962 World Cup without the injured Pele. But then, at Stade de France, Ronaldo returned and declared himself fit. He was back in the team, but how? And why?

This is where the story goes cold, with a form of omerta in place. Various parties have been blamed for the decision to field a player who only hours previously had led his colleagues to fear he had died. It was said that Nike put pressure on Brazil to ensure its most marketable asset - the star of its pre-tournament advert - was on the pitch, though the company strongly refuted the accusations. Fingers were pointed at the Brazilian Football Federation, as well as Zagallo and team doctor Lidio Toledo, but the truth is that no one outside of a tight circle knows the events that resulted in the most famous footballer on the planet taking the field as a shadow of his usual self.

But take the field he did. On the evening of July 12, Brazil emerged from the tunnel hand-in-hand and the last to do so, the lenses of the world's press training to snatch a glimpse of him, was Ronaldo.

His impact on the game was predictably minimal, one decent shot being saved at a tight angle by Fabien Barthez, and instead it was Zidane who took the plaudits when heading home twice from corners in the first half. Zagallo said after the game: "I kept thinking about taking him off. But he said he felt well enough to play and if I had not played Ronaldo after he said he was fit, I'd have been under even more criticism".

Following a red card shown to Marcel Desailly for two poor tackles, France secured their first World Cup triumph when Patrick Vieira fed Arsenal team-mate Emmanuel Petit for the third goal. Two days before Bastille Day, France's cosmopolitan squad had given the country an early reason to celebrate. Images of Zidane were beamed onto the Arc de Triomphe and over a million people partied in the streets of Paris.

But for one boy from Brazil, a football player who had become the subject of one of sport's great mysteries, the date represented nothing but hurt, even if the result on the pitch was put into perspective by the events leading up to it. As Ronaldo put it: "We lost the World Cup but I won another cup - my life."
The real Ronaldo.
 

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Are you seriously comparing Djokovic to one of the greatest football players of all time? :haha:
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Are you seriously comparing Djokovic to one of the greatest football players of all time? :haha:
Just the circumstances, although it both happened at the highest achievable level of their respective sports.
 

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Lol at comparing individual to group sports.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
:facepalm:
Delusional Mugovic fans in ruins.
I'm not a Djokovic fan, it's just odd to see someone who once went six hours in a Grand Slam final so lifeless.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
 

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I'm not a Djokovic fan, it's just odd to see someone who once went six hours in a Grand Slam final so lifeless.
Nadal was still working to find out a way to beat Djokovic in 2012 AO.
Djokovic lives up to the "Fakevic" name, he acts as if he is tired, while in reality he just can't handle Nadal's forehand cross court.
 
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