Ronaldo and AC Milan: The Right Fit and the Right Time
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
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.