No Ron doubts for Parreira
By Alex Dunn. Last Updated: January 1, 1970 1:00am
Brazil coach Carlos Alberto Parreira feels he has been vindicated in keeping faith with Ronaldo following the striker's last two displays.
The Real Madrid front man became a figure of ridicule following Brazil's first two World Cup games, with a pair of lethargic displays raising real doubts about his continued involvement.
Talk of his weight made the headlines as Ronaldo looked distracted but in Brazil's final group clash, the years were rolled back in style as he grabbed a brace against Japan.
In Tuesday's last 16 game against Ghana the prolific 29-year-old continued in the same vein as his fine finish opened the scoring in Brazil's 3-0 success.
A third goal in Germany saw him overtake Gerd Muller's World Cup goalscoring record, set at 14, and now Parreira has been quick to pay homage to his striker.
''We never had doubts about Ronaldo,'' he said.
''He is a special player and a player for the big occasion.
''He is going to be key in these games. He's a player who decides matches, I'm sure of that.
''I think records belong to him - he has more goals than anyone else in history.''
As the race for the Golden Boot intensifies, Ronaldo will have further opportunity to add to his tally when Brazil face France in what looks to be a mouthwatering quarter final clash.
Meanwhile, following the win over Ghana, Brazil have confirmed that Lucio, Kaka and Emerson are all receiving treatment - although there has been no comment on whether they are in danger of missing the France game.