Brazil legend Ronaldo revealed his famous 2002 World Cup haircut was a deliberate distraction to shift attention away from a leg injury before the country’s fifth title.
Ronaldo dazzled in South Korea and Japan 16 years ago, scoring twice as Brazil defeated Germany 2-0 to be crowned world champions.
The 2002 showpiece, though, is best known for Ronaldo’s unique hairstyle and the three-time FIFA World Player of the Year provided an insight into his decision to shave his head.
“I had an injury in my leg and everybody was talking about that,” Ronaldo said in Melbourne, where he headlined the announcement of Real Madrid’s ‘World of Football Experience’ – an exhibition set to open in June before continuing to tour the world for another five years across 14 cities.
“I decided to cut my hair and leave the small thing there. I come to training and everybody saw me with bad hair.
“Everybody was talking about the hair and forgot about the injury. I could stay more calm and relaxed and focused on my training.
“I’m not proud about the hair itself because it was pretty strange. But it was a good way to change the subject.”
Brazil have not won the World Cup since Ronaldo’s man-of-the-match heroics in Yokohama.
The South American giants were embarrassed 7-1 by eventual champions Germany on home soil in 2014.
Tite’s Brazil, though, head to Russia as one of the favourites to claim the coveted crown this year.
Asked about Brazil’s chances, former Real Madrid star Ronaldo – who amassed 98 international caps – said: “A few national teams that always will be there in the finals like Germany, Spain, France. All very strong teams. Let’s see. I hope Brazil can win again.”
Ronaldo – also a dual-Ballon d’Or recipient – added: “I’m very optimistic about the Brazilian national team. We changed a lot from the last two years … improved a lot with the new coach.
“We have Renato Augusto who plays in China [for Beijing Guoan] and for the national team. [Where they play] is not the problem. [Shanghai SIPG forward] Hulk has been a lot with Tite and I think football right now is more global than ever.”
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