MILAN - 1 November may be All Saints Day, but Bologna vs. Inter on Saturday 2 November at StadioDall’Ara (Kick-off at 18:00 CET) is the anniversary of the Epiphany of Ronaldo, ‘El Fenomeno’ in an Inter shirt. He may have already made his debut at San Siro on 31 August 1997 but that afternoon belonged to Alvaro Recoba and his fantastic brace. But then there was the match against Bologna on 14 September 1997 at the Stadio Dall’Ara (become a member and watch the whole match). A tough away game made harder by the rain and the heavy pitch, and that's not even mentioning Bologna’s potent attacking trident of Roberto Baggio, Igor Kolyvanov and Kenneth Andersson.
Giuseppe Bergomi, a Nerazzurri great and a great of football, talked to us about that famous afternoon: "It wasn’t easy to get an away win in the Italian championship back then, just as it still isn’t easy today. But I had never seen anybody like Ronaldo before and I’ve never seen anybody like him since: his skill at high speed remains something brilliant and inexplicable."
"It was really raining that day in Bologna and the pitch was heavy. But Ronaldo’s skill had no limits. Just consider what he would go on to do in the Uefa Cup against Spartak Moscow; that pitch was a mix of snow, mud and sawdust. I remember my first training session with Ronie: we were playing a little match, I tried to anticipate his movements but he just controlled the ball on his chest and passed it over my head and before beating Pagiluca with a deft touch in mid-air. We all looked at each other and knew that ‘El Fenomeno’ had arrived."
Bergomi’s account of events quickly gets to the heart of the match: "It was a strong Bologna side with a lot of attacking quality. Think of Baggio and his free-kick that match. Our Inter team had a strong defensive identity, but we had immense quality up front with Ronaldo, Djorkaeff and Moriero ..."
Galante’s header was the opening goal, followed by Ganz doubling the lead before Baggio curled in a free-kick to get Bologna back into the match. Seven minutes after the restart ‘El Fenomeno’ got his first goal in an Inter shirt (the goal is shown in the quiz on our Instagram story). Djorkaeff had this to say: “Thinking about it, it was Massimo Paganin who was marking him; he had just left Inter to join Bologna. That moment went down in history: a dummy with his right foot to beat his marker then a strike with his left to beat Brunner at his near post. Ronaldo made it look easy”
It was an exquisite goal and one that is stamped in the memory of all Nerazzurri fans. Meanwhile the match ended 4-2 to Inter: Baggio got his brace from the penalty spot but the icing on the Nerazzurri cake was provided by Djorkaeff who scored with a lob from the edge of the area.
BOLOGNA 2-4 INTER, 14 September 1997
Goals: 12' Galante (I), 38' Ganz (I), 44' R. Baggio (B), 52' Ronaldo (I), 58' R. Baggio pen. (B), 66' Djorkaeff (I)
BOLOGNA: Brunner, Paramatti, Mangone, Torrisi (Pavone), M. Paganin, Marocchi (Shalimov), Nervo, Magoni, R. Baggio, Andersson, Kolyvanov.
INTER: Pagliuca; Bergomi, Galante, West; Mezzano, Fresi (Cauet), Simeone, J. Zanetti; Djorkaeff (Recoba); Ronaldo, Ganz (Moriero).