RICARDO MAZALAN/Associated Press
Sixty years after Brazil suffered with Leonidas' injury in France 1938, history repeated itself. This time, the dramatic moment took place in the dawn of the final against the host country.
Ronaldo was Brazil’s biggest star and striker in France ’98. He came into the tournament as the Ballon d’Or winner and having dominated defenders in the Dutch, Spanish and Italian leagues; he was unstoppable. Ronaldo had lightning speed, possessed the magical Brazilian skill and was a deadly finisher.
Brazil were the great favourites to win the tournament and achieve their second back-to-back World Cup, despite Mario Zagallo’s decision to leave out the hero of USA ’94—Romario.
With the team making it to the final and Ronaldo being crucial with four goals scored along the way, everything was going according to what everybody thought. But the cruel fate of the 1938 Selecao haunted the one from 1998.
The night prior to the final, Roberto Carlos cried for help as team-mate and room-mate Ronaldo apparently convulsed due to the pressure laid on him to win the World Cup.
Just like conspiracy theories and myths came to life after Leonidas' injury, the same thing happened with Ronaldo. There were even investigations regarding what really happened that day. You can find more about the conspiracy theories and investigations in this Bleacher Report article.
What we do know is that players were concerned and the mood of the whole team got a big hit by witnessing what happened to the team star.
The next day, it was said that Zagallo wasn’t going to play him, but he ended up deciding to leave him in the starting line-up. Ronaldo was a ghost on the pitch, not even the shadow of the great player the world was used to seeing at the time. Brazil ended up losing 3-0.