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Walter Samuel Invented A Whole New Method To Stop Ronaldo Nazario

Josh Lawless

Published 

Walter Samuel Invented A Whole New Method To Stop Ronaldo Nazario

Ronaldo Nazario was nicknamed 'O Fenomeno' for a reason. Strong and skilful, the two-time Ballon d'Or winner was a truly special player who almost glided around the pitch and oozed class.

Ahead of the 1998 World Cup final, there was a video of France players looking nervous as they talked about how they were going to try and stop R9.

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Marcel Desailly, Lilian Thuram and Frank Leboeuf, all world-class defenders, literally dedicated a training session to Ronaldo - discussing how to prevent his feints and stepovers, as well as not getting too tight when marking him.

Years later and Argentine defender Walter Samuel had a very different way of dealing with the former Barcelona and Inter Milan striker.

In a meeting between Brazil and Argentina, the centre-back was marking Ronaldo on a set-piece play.

Having been teammates with him at Real Madrid, Samuel knew that he could not rest and any lapse of concentration would prove costly.

He marked Ronaldo extra tightly, grabbing onto him as defenders often do to try and block the attacker from getting a clear and free run.

But then he took it up another notch. Samuel not only pulled on Ronaldo's shirt but yanked it over his head so he could not see a thing as he fell to the turf.

Image: PA
Image: PA

Ronaldo, who was the most expensive player in the world on two occasions, finished his glittering career with 352 club goals and 62 in 98 for the Brazilian national team.

Yet, because of the serious knee injuries he suffered, there is always the feeling that the World Cup winner could have achieved even more greatness had he stayed fit.

Image: PA
Image: PA

2007 Ballon d'Or winner and AC Milan legend Kaka played with both Ronaldo and namesake Cristiano but believes his compatriot was more gifted.

He told SPORTbible: "Brazilian Ronaldo was the best player I ever played with. The things I saw that guy do on the field was amazing. Ronaldo was the best I played with, but what Cristiano did - and is doing - is just unreal.

"The most important thing for me about Cristiano is the way he can motivate himself after all the achievements he has got."

Topics: Ronaldo Nazario, Argentina, Brazil, Real Madrid

Josh Lawless
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