English former professional footballer Andy Cole has admitted that he was left so starstruck standing beside Ronaldo de Lima in the tunnel before Manchester United’s clash with Inter in 1999, that he almost wet himself.
Cole, a Manchester United favorite, played for the club from 1995 to 2001, scoring 121 goals in 275 appearances.
Brazilian legend Ronaldo returned to Inter’s starting line-up after missing the first leg, to set up a battle between Cole who was topping charts at the time.
Cole says being face to face with Ronaldo was a surreal experience for him.
Cole speaking to the Beautiful Game Podcast said:
“I remember when we played Inter Milan that same season and I lined up in the tunnel and I saw Ronaldo. I’m not gonna lie, I nearly wet myself!
“This is the guy I’ve watched for years. I’m talking about a baller, a straight baller. He had everything in the locker and I’m standing in the tunnel at the San Siro and I’m saying: ‘This is sick!’, but when you’re at that level and you think, ‘Man, I’m actually at this level with these guys. I’m on the same pitch as these guys, I’m on that level’, it’s surreal.
“I’m always honest and I’m always open when it comes to things like this. Playing against these kinds of guys.
“It’s something that when I do take the opportunity to look back, I say to my boys: ‘I’ve done alright. I’ve half made it!’.”
According to Cole, injuries prevented Ronaldo from sweeping all the individual awards at the height of his career, saying kids today are more aware of the Portuguese namesake Cristiano Ronaldo, at Juventus.
“If you speak to a lot of the kids now and you speak about Brazilian Ronaldo, they look at you like you’ve got three heads because they don’t know who he is,” he added. “If we take away his injuries, he could have gone on to ?win Ballon d’Or after Ballon d’Or and scored a zillion goals. He was a baller! He was an absolute baller.
“Of course, we’re gonna talk about Cristiano Ronaldo on that level as R9 because that’s what we see now, that’s what the kids see now – but if you take away that injury, he was sick, a proper baller.”