16 February 2017
#TBT: 10 YEARS AGO THE RONALDO-SHOW
Siena-Milan, 17th February 2007: the first goals in Red and Black scored by Ronaldo “Fenômeno”
FEBRUARY 2007 – RONALDO’S MONTH
AC Milan were back on track. After an absurd summer, the players who didn’t go on holiday and a series of injuries, the Rossoneri, in 2006-07 were coming off a negative month of November. In December and especially in January, Carlo Ancelotti’s boys had bounced back and were back to winning ways. The winter transfer window saw the signings of Oddo, Storari and Grimi, but something was still missing. AC Milan were looking to sign the player they had been following sine the previous summer: Ronaldo, Real Madrid’s star. In August, Juventus protested: why can AC Milan, who are penalised, deal with Real Madrid to sign the player? But in January, tensions were not as high. Adriano Galliani and Ramon Calderon reached a deal: in the final hours of the transfer window, the Brazilian Fenômeno can be announced by AC Milan. The Club and the player still haven’t found an agreement on the player’s contract, but they reach an agreement the night before the player presentation. The first of Ronaldo’s 12 months with AC Milan begins, with the press conference of the player in the centre of Milan, at the Ata Hotel Executive in Porta Garibaldi. It’s 2nd February 2007.
RO-KA-RO, MA MOST OF ALL RO… NALDO
Ronaldo was supposed to sit on the bench against Livorno at San Siro two days later, but the death of the police inspector Filippo Raciti, killed before the game Catania-Palermo suspends all sports activities in Italy. One week more to train for the Devil wears Ronnie. Everything was postponed to 11th February. Thanks to the installation of the turnstiles at San Siro, the match against Livorno can be played, although only the fans who had a season ticket could actually access the stadium. With the result stuck on 1-1, Ronaldo makes his debut in the Red and Black, coming on for Ricardo Olivera on the 63rd minute. Five minutes later, Jankulovski scores the goal for 2-1. Thanks to the win over Cristiano Lucarelli’s side, AC Milan can prepare for the following match away to Siena more relaxed. Carlo Ancelotti decides to field the Ro-Ka-Ro, the Brazilian trident made up of Ricardo Oliveira, Kakà and Ronaldo. The former Santos player scores a goal, Kakà delivers two assists, but the star is Ronaldo, who scores a brace. These are his first two goals for AC Milan. Siena-Milan ends 3-4, with Maccarone scoring a hat-trick for the hosts, and Molinaro scoring the decisive own goal on the 94′ after Ambrosini’s header.
RONIE, WHO’S GOING TO MAN MARK YOU?
Siena-AC Milan as back on 17th February 2007, 10 years ago. After the week of training at Milanello, Ancelotti and his staff want to test Ronaldo’s physical condition. The Friday ahead ofSiena-AC Milan, the Red and Black manager makes up his mind: Ronaldo will have a place in the starting XI, while Gilardino Inzaghi will focus on preparing for the Champions League.
In the Tuscan training camp, the night before match day, Ancelotti speaks with Ronaldo, in the Red and Blacks’ dining room: “Ronie, tomorrow you’re on”, “Good to know, coach”. Ancelotti, continues, half-jokingly: “Ronie, listen, what do you know about Siena? Do you know who will man mark you tomorrow?”, he replied: “No boss, but don’t worry, who has to man-mark me knows who I am…”. Ancelotti started laughing loudly and the following day Ronaldo scores a brace. For the record, the players who had to man-mark him were two, Bertotto and Gastaldello.
RONALDO AND AC MILAN: FROM LIVORNO TO LIVORNO
Aside from Siena, the God of football wanted Ronaldo’s Red and Black history to start againstLivorno and end against Livorno. After his debut on 11th February 2007, the last chapter with the Rossoneri, on February 13th, 2008. On that night, a replay after the Red and Blacks played in Yokohama, it was AC Milan vs Livorno. After the Amaranto side scored the first goal with Pulzetti on the 50′, with AC Milan 1-0 down, Ancelotti decides to bring on Inzaghi and Ronaldo in place of Paloschi e Gilardino. These are the last four, intense, minutes of Ronaldo’s career in the Red and Black: he takes the pitch on the 57′ and on the 61′ he falls on the ground with his patellar tendon suddenly collapsing, during the play that would then give AC Milan a penalty kick which Pirloscored to level the game. After that match, with Ronaldo ready to undergo surgery the following day at the Pitie-Salpetriere clinic in Paris, Carlo Ancelotti never had such a despondent face, not even after the Istanbul night: “We are really sad and worried”, he said at the press conference at San Siro.