“As you have probably heard, unless you frequent one of the 40% of all newspaper websites that buried the story under an ongoing Gary Neville live blog, Ronaldo retired yesterday. I wrote a small tribute for Slate, which started as a Run of Play post and which I hope you’ll read. It’s about, I guess, how he fits in with the other great players of his generation (in terms of meaning, not in terms of top 10 lists) and how the accepted narrative of his career misses the point (because it’s told in terms of top 10 lists). But mainly it’s about this.” Run of Play

The Superstar at Play
“When you look back on it, 1994 was a transformative year for soccer, one of those moments when the game’s history briefly shows its seams. It was the year Maradona was sent home from the World Cup, fuming and wretched after a positive doping test, and began his long slide into freakish post-relevance. David Beckham played his first important match for Manchester United, giving the world a hint of the paparazzi hurricanes to come. Zinedine Zidane, in his first match for France, scored twice off the bench and glowered like something out of Michelangelo. And in the Netherlands, PSV welcomed a 17-year-old Brazilian striker named Ronaldo, who’d played all of 14 matches the previous year for Cruzeiro—he scored 12 goals—and who had spent the entirety of the just-completed World Cup sitting on the seleção bench.” Slate

Farewell to a Phenomenon
“‘The farewell of a great,’ the headline read. Above it, a photograph of Ronaldo – the original, Brazilian one – shedding a tear. It’s a reaction one would expect of the press in Brazil, given all that O Fenômeno has done for the country’s national team and the joy he’s given to fans there and across Europe. It’s a sign of the magnitude of greatness under consideration, though, that this headline isn’t taken from a Brazilian website. Nor from a site in one of the three European countries whose leagues he graced – the Netherlands, Italy and Spain. It was the main headline on the website of Argentina’s Olé on Monday morning.” ESPN


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