Former Inter forward Ronaldo Luís Nazário de Lima spoke via a video connection at the Trento Sport Festival today to discuss his memories at Inter and experiences in Italy, with Italian media outlet TuttoMercatoWeb in attendance.
“That Inter was a great team. Besides Bobo there was Seedorf and many other great players. I liked Vieri very much, it’s a shame for the injury that prevented us from playing together for so long. He knew how to play with his team-mates, to play one-two, it was perfect for me. When I arrived in Italy at the beginning it wasn’t easy with journalists, especially because of the language problem. After six months, however, I started to speak Italian and relations improved. After my first year at Inter there was great enthusiasm, we brought people the hope of doing good things and the fans were with us. Also, this year there is great enthusiasm for Inter, we hope they can win something.”
The player then discussed his knee injury suffered whilst with the Nerazzurri.
“I immediately realised that the knee had given way. I was holding on to my kneecap which tended to go up towards my thigh. It was an injury that hadn’t happened in football yet and there wasn’t much information. The first ten days were dark and sad, I had to find within me all the love for football, a love that I didn’t even know I had. It was a long time, I never gave up physiotherapy any day, always hoping to go back to playing. I think the training methods I had before conditioned me, they made me train with exercises that I didn’t need, and I needed other things.”
The 43-year-old Brazilian also touched on the famous game against Lazio in May 2002.
“I’ve thought about it many times. I think we came onto the pitch too convinced we would win. That week there was too much talk about buying Nesta, which seemed to be done, and it was said that he might not have played. That distracted us. Then I think Cuper got the line-up wrong by putting one too many players in midfield. Individual mistakes were also involved in the game. It was one of the biggest disappointments of my life.”
Finally, Ronaldo spoke of his move to Real Madrid and his regrets leaving Inter.
“I would never have wanted to leave Inter, I felt like it was my home for all my life. I’ve never had to go to a president and ask for a coach’s head, it wasn’t right and it’s not in my values. But we got to a point where I couldn’t handle Cuper anymore: he wasn’t doing well with me. I don’t know if I would have changed my decision with the Scudetto. I was convinced that Moratti would send him away and it was a nasty surprise for me. At that moment, being proud, I decided to leave. The city that once loved me now hated me and I had to be protected by the police. It was hard. I love Moratti for his soul, he was a father to me. We came to the conclusion that we were both wrong.”
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