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By Grant Wahl
January 20, 2015

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. — One of my favorite things to do when interviewing the best players in world soccer is to give them the rapid-fire quiz about their career. We’ve done it with plenty of players now (including Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Luis Suárez and Landon Donovan). Last week the player in the chair was Brazilian great Ronaldo, who’s a new part-owner of the NASL’s Fort Lauderdale Strikers.

SI: Your favorite goal of your career?

Ronaldo: The two goals in the 2002 final were for me the best feeling. It was beautiful.

SI: The best goal you ever scored in your career based on degree of difficulty?

Ronaldo: For Barcelona against Compostela in 1996 [smiles]. That was a very difficult goal. You don’t see goals like that every day.

SI: The most difficult defender you ever faced?

Ronaldo: Paolo Maldini. He was tough, tough, every time we played against each other. And I played against him many times. He’s a very good friend.

SI: Most difficult goalkeeper to score against?

Ronaldo: [Gianluigi] Buffon. He’s so big, he’s everywhere, easily the most difficult goalkeeper I played against.

Planet Futbol
Ronaldo wants to play again as part of owning NASL's Ft. Lauderdale Strikers

SI: Who was your best teammate?

Ronaldo: I have a lot of friends in football, in soccer. In America you call it soccer. I have to memorize this (laughs)! My best teammate was Roberto Carlos. I slept more in the same room with Roberto Carlos in training camps than with all the women I’ve been with in my life! I spent all my life with Roberto Carlos for 20 years: with the national team, with Real Madrid, with Corinthians.

SI: Best manager you’ve had?

Ronaldo: Mario Zagallo. He’s like a father. He’s so kind, so patient. He’s really good to teach you and help you. He’s that way with everyone.

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SI: Best player you ever played against?

Ronaldo: Zinédine Zidane. I had the pleasure to train with him. People saw a lot of things in matches, but I saw him every day in training, in games. Every time it was amazing to watch him.

SI: The player you admired the most during your career?

Ronaldo: Zico was my idol. He was a very good player from Flamengo, and I was a Flamengo supporter from Rio de Janeiro. I was always looking for him and saying I want to be like him. He’s my big hero.

SI: Who’s the best No. 9 in the world today?

Ronaldo: I think it’s Ibrahimovic. He wears No. 10, but he plays like a No. 9. I’ve been last year a couple times to Paris to watch his matches. His movement! He’s very, very good, the best at the moment.

GALLERY: Rare photos of Ronaldo

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