Ronaldo believes Brazil has been criticized
too harshly for not winning the World Cup "even though we're the best
team in the world."
Favored to win a record sixth World Cup in Germany, Brazil was knocked
out in the quarterfinals 1-0 by France, which went on to lose to Italy
in the final on penalty kicks.
"I've seen and heard the criticism, and it all seems very exaggerated,"
Ronaldo said at a news conference Tuesday.
He acknowledged the team didn't live up to expectations.
"Our performance was below expectations. We just have to accept it," he
said. "I think it's too much to look for a culprit for our elimination.
Brazil won't win every Cup, even though we're the best team in the world."
Ronaldo has won the Cup twice, in 1994 and 2002, and nearly won a third
time in 1998, when Brazil reached the final but lost 3-0 to host France.
He compared the sullen mood in Brazil with the ecstasy of 2002, when the
team defeated Germany 2-0 in the final in Japan.
"Four years ago everyone was happy -- the press, fans, politicians --
everyone commemorating the fifth World Cup title," he said. "Now the
losers are just the players and the coaching staff."
Ronaldo defended coach Carlos Alberto Parreira, who led the team to the
title in 1994 and was expected to repeat the feat this year.
"The coach can't be the only one guilty for the defeat of the national
team," he said.
There was some personal success for Ronaldo, who scored three goals to
eclipse former German star Gerd Mueller as the World Cup's all-time
leading scorer with 15 goals. He also was the Cup's third-highest scorer
with three goals, two behind German striker Miroslav Klose.
Ronaldo confirmed he's considering surgery on his left knee, and said he
was consulting Brazil team doctor Jose Luis Runco.
"We'll talk with Runco and see what's the best way to resolve this
problem," he said.
FC Barcelona striker Ronaldinho, twice voted the world's best player,
also apologized for the team's disappointing play.
"Many expected a brilliant performance from the team and especially from
me. Which didn't happen," he said in a statement on his Web site. "I
regret we left this World Cup without showing our qualities, and what
we're capable of."