Football and politics, politics and football, it’s hard to find the leading thread particularly in Brazil that has won the World Cup five times and is considered among the favorites for this edition in Germany.
"Is striker Ronaldo overweight?" is more significant for Brazilians than the stock exchange or the financial turbulences of these days.
Obviously President Lula da Silva also spoke about the overweight issue which has infuriated Ronaldo and for ten days refused to talk to the press.
But the ban is over and "as Mr. Lula has said that I’m overweight, everybody is saying that the President drinks too much. It’s all a big lie that I’m overweight, as must be false that he (President Lula) drinks too much", stated ironically Ronaldo.
"I guess the President is wrongly influenced by the press. His were unfortunate statements…that I’m overweight really nobody cares. They’ve been talking about that nonsense for the last three years", added Ronaldo.
Actually President Lula da Silva in a live teleconference surprised the coach of the Brazilian team, Carlos Alberto Parreira with the overweight question.
"Ronaldo is fine, working and training as usual" was the coach’s reply.
But Ronaldo’s words were not necessarily kind since they reopened an old controversy dating from May 2004 when the New York Times correspondent in Brazil wrote in one of his columns that there was "national concern" in Brazil over the President’s excessive attraction towards alcoholic drinks.
(At the time Brazilian authorities forced the Times correspondent, Larry Rohter, to abandon Brazil by not renewing his visa. The correspondent was finally allowed to continue in Brazil after a letter in which he almost apologized for what he had written ).
Nevertheless it was President Lula da Silva who cooled down the discussion by sending a personal fax to Ronaldo telling him he has always been an admirer of him and was wishing the best for him in the Cup. In any case he was another Brazilian interested in the well being of the national team.
"People get that (overweight) impression of Ronaldo because of the television filming", argued coach Parreira.
Mercopress – www.mercopress.com