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'Something missing from game'

It has not been a great opening at the World Cup for me. I acknowledge that we were expected to play better against Croatia, writes Ronaldo.

india Updated: Jun 16, 2006 15:04 IST

It has not been a great opening at the World Cup for me. I acknowledge that we were expected to play better against Croatia, and we should have demonstrated a little more of the skills that make both the team and me so popular in this tournament.

Nevertheless, things don't always happen the way we want it and personally speaking, I'd like to forget my first encounter in Germany as soon as possible. At least Brazil gained full points, which is what one seeks in one's first game in such a big tournament.

When I jumped into the fray in Berlin, I did it convinced that I was in complete readiness for the great encounter.

I watched around at my team and saw a great commitment to start our title defence on a winning note. However, a few minutes into the game, it occurred to me that something was missing in my game.

It was not something I could put a finger on, but it's something any soccer player would understand. When your first three or four touches are not as good as you want them to be, you begin to imagine reasons for your lack of effectiveness.

I felt like discomfort on the turf, but I knew that the problem could be transitory and that a few good moves would get me back in rhythm. Unfortunately, this did not happen on Tuesday, and the coach replaced to me with Robinho.

It was a decision I understood perfectly, because it is clear that it was not my day. Although we won the game, I finished the encounter feeling quite sad because I did not play well.

The media have criticised me at length for my first performance and I accept these opinions with humility and respect. I know that things are going to change and I remain positive as we approach our game against Australia on Sunday.

Somebody once told me that people only throw stones at trees that bear fruits. I’m convinced that I’m going to respond to the faith that has been reposed in me during this World Cup.

Another news that has been of interest of the press was my visit to a clinic for a check-up in Frankfurt on Wednesday. I returned to the team hotel in Königstein after the game and slept badly because I kept thinking of my performance in the match.

I woke up late the following day with a splitting headache. I spoke to our team doctor, and everybody decided that it’d be wise to go to a hospital in Frankfurt for a check up.

I told our media manager that it was a minor issue, but soon word got out about the visit and there was a great deal of conjecture on what the problem might be. However, I am happy to say I felt better and went to the gym later and even trained with the team in the evening.

Once again, there was great interest about my health and fitness for no reason. However, it also reminded me of the responsibility I have within this group, and the weight of expectations that comes with the name Ronaldo.

I have to carry this weight and put up with the scrutiny of experts and fans, and hopefully I will redeem myself sooner than later. Perhaps this article speaks too much of me. In fact, I notice that I don’t say anything of the rest of the competition or even our game.

However, I believe that the best thing at moments of uncertainty is to take advantage of this column to explain what really happened, to comment on my feelings after my poor start, my hopes for the future and my reflections. We might feel that we’ve been in Germany for a year, but truth be told, the World Cup has only just begun. Gameplan

First Published: Jun 16, 2006 09:43 IST