Ronaldo's 2002 World Cup redemption... according to him: "In that moment, I felt complete"

Ronaldo redemption 2002 World Cup
Illustration: Adam Forster

I vividly remember waking up in my hotel room and realising that I was surrounded by lots of players and our team doctor, Lidio Toledo. They wouldn’t tell me what was happening or why they were there. I asked them to go and have their discussions somewhere else. I just wanted to go back to sleep.

Instead, I was taken for a walk through the gardens of the hotel. I was told that I'd been unconscious for two minutes, and for that reason wouldn’t play in the World Cup final against France that night. I wouldn’t accept it. I had a duty to my nation and didn’t want to let anybody down. I thought I could still help the team, so didn’t give the coach any option. I had to play in that match.

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