Interview: Ronaldo laments lack of team spirit, qualified central striker for Brazilian football

Ronaldo Luiz Nazario De Lima is Brazilian soccer legend and three times FIFA World Player of the Year. In an exclusive interview with Xinhua on May 19, he expressed his concern over the absence of team spirit and good central strikers in Brazilian teams.

(Soundbite) Ronaldo Luiz Nazario De Lima, Brazilian Soccer Star
“I think the Brazilian team has had problems of creating a new winning generation. We have great players with a lot of quality but together we have not been able to develop a winning team. We had opportunities in the World Cup in Brazil in 2014 and the Copa America in Chile last year, but we still have not been able to develop a winning group. It is not that we do not have great players. Neymar is our great hope in the Brazilian team. We hope that in the next few competitions, whether in the Copa America, in the United States, or in the Olympic Games in Brazil, Brazil can win a title.”

Except for team spirit, Ronaldo also saw a lack of qualified central strikers, not only for Brazil, but the whole soccer arena in the world.

(Soundbite) Ronaldo Luiz Nazario De Lima, Brazilian Soccer Star
“We are seeing on the global scene a need for great central strikers, or No. 9. Those who have been successful recently have had more mobility. They move around more on both sides of the pitch and they score a lot of goals. But on a global level we are seeing that there are few central strikers. The standout players are other types of players, like Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo, Neymar. They are very mobile players that have the ability to score. But even so, we still have some great strikers like Robert Lewandowski, who is a classical central forward, with great technique and strength. He is tall and scores a lot of goals. We hope that we see a return of these types of players.”

Meanwhile, the legendary figure could not avoid remembering the golden days when his generation charged on the field.

(Soundbite) Ronaldo Luiz Nazario De Lima, Brazilian Soccer Star
“It is difficult to compare eras. The criteria are not clear. It is a superficial comparison. But yes, I believe that our generation had greater competitiveness. Each club had two or three standout players. And we did not see the same player repeatedly winning all of the (individual) awards. There was a great competition. To win the title of the world’s best player, I had to compete against Zidane, Figo, Rivaldo, Ronaldinho, Michael Owen and other great players of my generation… I think football has evolved a lot in a physical sense. Nowadays players train better, benefiting the individual qualities of each player. That is why football today is a lot more dynamic and quicker. You do not find slow players. The speed of the game is what has changed most.”

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