France '98, and as Brazil looked to secure their fifth world title, their destiny rested on one 21-year-old phenomenom's shoulders. Ronaldo, was looking to finally shake off the brazilian burden of succeeding the Great Pele, and win the World Cup for Brazil.
As the Samba Army prepared to face France, they were widely fancied to take home the spoils. However, just hours before kick off, rumors arose that Ronaldo was unfit to play and was subject to an epileptic fit the night before. Theories that Ronaldo's food had been laced with drugs were brought to the fore and the world waited with bated breath.
Ronaldo took to the field, but was a shadow of his great potential, and he looked on heartbroken as France ran rampant. Fearing his chance at the big time had gone, Ronaldo left dejected.
Fast forward four years, and Ronaldo is struggling to get fit, let alone play for Brazil in the World Cup. Two serious knee injuries had hampered his progress and he looked set to become a nearly man.
Nevertheless, he arrived in Japan with a Brazil squad looking somewhat lightweight compared to favorites Argentina and France. When Brazil finally got under way in the tournament against Turkey, Ronaldo scored his first goal in 1,000 days for his country, and the snowball effect had started.
Ronaldo went on to score five more on the way to leading Brazil to the final against Germany. Ronaldo was not missing his chance this time, and it was fitting that he should score both goals in a 2-0 win, taking home Brazil's fifth World Cup Trophy.
Ronaldo had his day in the sun and in Yokohama that day, he was, finally, on top of the world.
This was my first World Cup, Ronaldo mesmerized my 7-year-old mind that summer, and to this day remains my favorite ever player.