Towards the end of his playing career, Ronaldo may have been the subject of several cheap jokes due to his weight issues and off-pitch problems, but no one can deny that he is one of the greatest footballers of all time.
Ronaldo won the World Cup with Brazil back in 1994 as a 17-year-old (although he did not feature in a single game) and four years later in France, he guided his country to the final.
Injuries hampered his progress and threatened to derail his career for most of the subsequent four years, but he recovered to star at the 2002 World Cup in Japan and South Korea. Not only did the former Real Madrid and Barcelona striker win the tournament, he also picked up the Golden Boot for scoring eight goals, including two in the final against Germany.
That may have been 12 years ago, but Diego Costa is hoping to emulate Ronaldo’s achievements in the Far East for Spain this summer. The 25-year-old was born in Brazil and played in two friendly internationals for the Selecao in 2013, but he subsequently accepted an offer from Spain and will now represent La Furia Roja in the South American country.
Costa was one of the top strikers in Europe last season. He is now poised to star for Spain in his first major international tournament and wants to make it a memorable one.
‘The excitement I have of trying to repeat something Ronaldo did would be one of the best things to happen in my life’, the Atletico Madrid striker told FourFourTwo magazine. ‘I don’t think I could ever follow in his footsteps because he’s unique, but it would be a huge honour to win the World Cup. And who knows, if I score the goals to win the Golden Boot along the way, that would be beautiful.’
Costa had been struggling with injuries towards the end of the 2013-14 season, but he is expected to fully recover by the start of the World Cup. The Atletico star has been strongly linked with a move to Chelsea this summer, and he will certainly want to head to the Premier League as a world champion.