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Golden Goal: Ronaldo for Barcelona v Compostela (1996)

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Il Fenomeno’s one season at the Camp Nou brought 47 goals – one against Compostela will live long in the memory

Sometimes, you’re remembered for being close to history, rather than making it. Take SD Compostela: for most of their existence they’ve played in the Spanish regional leagues, but their four seasons in the top flight in the mid-1990s just happened to coincide with one of the greatest individual campaigns football has ever seen. Pretty much everyone outside of Spain remembers them for one moment, in a game they lost 5-1.

Ronaldo scored 47 goals in 1996-97, his only season at Barcelona, but it isn’t the numbers that make nostalgics go moist at the eye. At the most basic level, what thrilled in that season was his combination of speed and delicacy, impossible control at implausible pace, one of those rare players who appealed both viscerally and cerebrally. “I’m just a regular player – he’s on another planet,” said Juan Antonio Pizzi, the poor sod who occasionally had to deputise for him.

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