2014 FIFA World Cup™
Ronaldo: Argentina could spring a surprise
05 Dec 2013
Twice a world champion in four FIFA World Cup™ appearances; the leading scorer in the history of the competition with 15 goals; a three-time winner of the FIFA World Player of the Year award; and one of the greatest footballers of all time: Ronaldo Luis Nazario de Lima, otherwise known as O Fenômeno, achieved much during the years when he graced the pitches of the world.
His days of terrorising opposing defences behind him, Ronaldo is now an authority on his country’s preparations to host the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil.
A member of the Management Board of Brazil 2014's Local Organising Committee (LOC), he gave a wide-ranging press conference on Wednesday, discussing a series of topics from demonstrations in the streets and construction work at the stadiums to the legacy of the World Cup and Brazil’s hopes of success in next year’s competition. FIFA.com rounds up what the Brazilian superstar had to say on those subjects and more.
On what the Final Draw might bring for Brazil...“Starting the competition in one of the weaker groups could be a good thing, but I don’t think the Brazil team needs to sit there hoping for a weak group or a strong one. They showed at the FIFA Confederations Cup that they have a very strong side and that they’re the red hot favourites to win the FIFA World Cup.”
On the criteria for the Final Draw...“I think the [FIFA/Coca-Cola World] Ranking tells us who’s the best right now. Being a traditional powerhouse doesn’t mean to say you’re going to win the FIFA World Cup. You have to play good football and have a bit of luck too. Some of the big names aren’t seeded and that’s because they haven’t performed that well over the last couple of years.”
On the favourites for the title...“Brazil are top of my list of favourites. Then come Germany, followed by Spain and Argentina. Argentina could spring a nasty surprise (laughs). Have you thought about Argentina winning here in Brazil?”
On Brazil’s selection...“Knowing *Felipão *as I do, I don’t think he’s got any doubts at all. He’s had things very clear in his mind right from the Confederations Cup.”
I’m convinced he’s going to become the greatest player in the world and competing in Europe will go a long way to helping him achieve that.
On how Brazil are shaping up...“I think the team are looking pretty good. There are none of the controversies we’ve had in previous years about certain players getting picked or not. The best players are already there and the team is on the right track. The players just need to get motivated now for the World Cup, and Felipão is a great motivator. He’s very good at handling and managing teams, and he’s knows how to gee the players up and make sure they’re raring to go.”
On the legacy of the competition...“I see the FIFA World Cup as a major opportunity for all of us, one that will bring investments for our country. We’re going to have a great legacy here, with all the investments that have been made in infrastructures, the Host Cities, new stadiums and the renovation and building of airports and more.”
On construction work at the stadiums...“The sooner they are ready, the better it will be for everyone because it will give us the chance to test the stadiums, the pitch and how the facilities work at events like concerts. As we saw at the Confederations Cup, things went better at the stadiums that were completed earlier and where we were able to carry out testing. That’s why we’re anxious to see the stadiums handed over with time to spare so that we can test them and make sure there are no problems.”
On the demonstrations in Brazil...“We hadn’t seen people demonstrating and taking to the streets like that here in Brazil for many years. The recent demonstrations have shown us that the people have the power to change this country. It’s just a question of wanting to.”
On whether Brazil is ready on and off the pitch...“I think the Brazil team is ready. We’re organised and know exactly what we have to do. We are ready to deliver the greatest World Cup of all time. There are still a few months to go before the competition starts and we have a lot of work to do to get everything in the best possible shape. I can tell you, though, that Brazil will be putting on a show on and off the pitch.”
On early kick-off times... "FIFA has a big committee of doctors, fitness trainers and coaches who’ve made their views known on the subject. The World Cup has been played in hot weather before. Just look at the USA. I was there and we played at the same time (13:00).”
On his FIFA World Cup scoring record of 15 goals and the prospect of Miroslav Klose equalling or bettering it...Well, obviously I’m hoping he doesn’t get there (laughs). Joking aside, I know very well that records are always there to be beaten. I beat someone else’s record and one day someone is going to beat mine. It’s going to happen one day, though it won’t take anything away from all the goals I scored in the World Cup or from my career. They’re something I’m very proud of.
On the progress Neymar is making...Neymar was only young when he left here for Europe, but it goes without saying that he’s going to learn a lot there. You’re playing with the very best in the world in Europe and you’re always learning. You have to stand out among the best and you’re always looking to improve. I’m convinced he’s going to become the greatest player in the world and competing in Europe will go a long way to helping him achieve that. I really like the way he’s going about things at Barcelona. He’s playing well, he’s tactically aware and he’s really involved, which all means he’s going to be bringing even more to the Brazil team.