Goal record no big target for me, says Ronaldo
DORTMUND, June 27 (Reuters) - Ronaldo broke a World Cup record by scoring his 15th finals goal in Brazil's 3-0 second-round defeat of Ghana but said the new mark had not been a particular target for him.
The 29-year-old expertly converted a chance in the fifth minute to set the champions on their way to a quarter-final meeting with either France or Spain.
The goal eclipsed Gerd Mueller's mark of 14 set during West Germany's World Cup win of 1974. Mueller played in two World Cup finals in 1970 and 74 but Ronaldo's goals have come over three finals from 1998.
He was a squad member of the victorious 1994 party.
'That (the record) was never my goal, it's just something that's happened,' he told reporters. 'I'm happy to have broken this record; for seven World Cups it has not been broken.'
He continued: 'It's a great satisfaction to make this record, but let's not forget our main objective is to reach the final. The players are very confident and our team is meeting our goals.
'I hope they continue falling for my tricks up to the final,' he said, referring to his clever dummy of Ghana keeper Richard Kingston in scoring.
'I sensed I had to trick the goalie somehow. I figured it would complicate things if I kept the ball too long so I decided to do that dribble.'
His coach, Carlos Alberto Parreira, paid tribute to the striker who many Brazilian media observers thought should be dropped after sub-standard early performances at the finals.
'We never had the doubt over Ronaldo. He is a special player and a player for the big moments. He is going to be key in these games, he is a decisive player I am sure of that,' Parreira said.
Despite the scoreline, Ronaldo, who scored twice in the World Cup final 2-0 victory over Germany in 2002, said it had not all been plain-sailing for Brazil against an aggressive and spirited Ghana team.
'It wasn't easy to play today. Everyone who plays Brazil will give eveything,' he said.
'If people put me under pressure, it's actually good for me because then I can show what I can really do.'
At the other end, Brazilian players were simply relieved their much-criticised defence managed to keep a powerful Ghanaian attack at bay.
'The Brazilian defence was very good. It was a worry and today there was great calm. We knew the second half would be very difficult, as it was. It was a team playing against Brazil with nothing to lose,' midfielder Gilberto Silva told reporters.
Ghana coach Ratomir Dujkovic paid tribute to his own side who battled from first to last.
'I'm very proud of our players, they fought from the first minute of the first match to the last minute today,' he told reporters.
'We missed some important chances, they scored three goals. They are a fantastic team and if you give them a fraction of a second they will finish you.'
Dujkovic was banished to the stands at the end of the first half by the Slovakian referee Lubos Michel. 'I said it would be better for us if he put on a yellow jersey,' he explained.