On the occasion of his 42nd birthday, Pies thought it high time we re-introduce ourselves to Ronaldo and his canon – one of the finest highlight reels ever amassed during the course of a professional career.
Specifically, we’re talking about the very night the Brazilian striker ascended to become ‘O Fenomeno’ – or ‘Il Fenomeno’ to be precise – dubbed such by the Italian press after single-handedly tearing Lazio to shreds with Inter Milan in the 1998 UEFA Cup final.
When you’re making Alessandro Nesta repeatedly look like a rank amateur, you’re probably having a decent game…
Inter went on to win 3-0 at the Parc des Princes, with Ronaldo scoring the third goal after terrorising the Biancocelesti for 90 near-merciless minutes.
Speaking in 2014, Youri Djorkaeff later echoed the sentiments of the Italian journalists in attendance while discussing his Nerazzurri strike partner’s performance with UEFA.com:
Ronaldo was phenomenal. He proved that he was a cut above the rest that season.
I remember his goal against Lazio – he took on the keeper and managed to put him on his back without touching the ball.
It was incredible, but he did tricks like that in every training session. We were used to it.
The touch, the athleticism, the skill, the creativity, the spontaneity, the precision, the speed of thought. Ronaldo really was a prototype for a new kind of footballing superstar.