While the 1998 World Cup final in Paris will forever be looked back on with great fondness by those of a French persuasion, in Brazil, it remains one of the nation's lowest moments at a tournament where, as current five-time champions, they have no equals.
For a 21-year-old Ronaldo, it was rock bottom. He'd entered the competition branded by many as the world's best footballer, but appeared to have taken that all in his stride by scoring four goals and laying on three others for his teammates.
What occurred inside the Stade de France on the evening of July 12 has been well-documented, although the exact details still have the conspiracy theorists wagging their tongues. What we do know is that Ronaldo suffered convulsions and lost consciousness for several minutes, but despite not being included in the original Brazilian starting lineup, a dramatic change of circumstances saw the clinical striker feature from the beginning.
Yet, while he was on the pitch in body, his mind, understandably, appeared to be elsewhere. The result? A Brazil side lacking their finely tuned talisman went down 3-0 to the hosts.
Speaking to BBC Sport recently, Ronaldo recalled: "The doctors called me to another room and explained to me that I had had a convulsion and that I would not play. I said: 'No, this is not possible. I want to play. I will play.' We went to the hospital and I stayed there for three hours. I did everything you can imagine, tests, everything. There was no conclusion."
© Getty Images
Meanwhile, Brazilian midfielder Leonardo added: "Every match on the bus we were singing and dancing. A lot of players were dancing to prepare the atmosphere to play like we like to play. This was different. We didn't have the atmosphere. If you are in silence in Brazil, you are in fear."
Four years later in Yokohama, though, while France floundered, Brazil and a fully healthy Ronaldo returned to the biggest stage of them all - their third World Cup final in a row. With a big-money move to Real Madrid in the offing, Il Fenomeno had gone a long way to laying the ghosts of Paris to rest by scoring six goals in the games leading up to the final, where Germany would provide the opposition.
Not that it stopped journalists from playing the 1998 card, to which Ronaldo responded on the eve of the game: "Everyone keeps on reminding me of 1998 but I don't know why. I keep on forgetting it and have no problem with it. I am just finding tranquility to play a good game, and to bring the title to Brazil."
And "bring the title to Brazil" he did in what remains the only World Cup meeting between the South American nation and the Germans, themselves three-time winners of the famous gold trophy. This was by no means a vintage Germany outfit, though, and the defeat that followed would kickstart a Die Mannschaft revolution - the rewards of which are now being reaped.
In truth, a German side in their pomp would have struggled to shackle Ronaldo that evening. With just a fringe for hair, the frontman scored both of Brazil's goals in a 2-0 win.
© Getty Images
Having been thwarted on numerous occasions during a goalless first half by Germany goalkeeper Oliver Kahn, Ronaldo pounced in the 67th minute just when the match seemed as though it would go the distance. Khan failed to hold a powerful low shot from distance from Rivaldo and when the ball rebounded back into open play, Brazil's number nine reacted quicker than Carsten Ramelow to break the deadlock.
Then, with 11 minutes left to play, Ronaldo's redemption was complete. Kleberson played a slide-rule pass, which was dummied by Rivaldo into the path of Ronaldo. A cushioned touch opened up the goalscoring opportunity, which the Rio-born attacker converted with real aplomb.
Talking to FourFourTwo magazine recently, 37-year-old Ronaldo said of the 2002 success: "I dare to say that team of 2002 was better than all the others Brazil sent to a World Cup, except for the 1970 team. That 2002 team was very balanced. It had great defenders and great strikers. We could stop anyone and we could score at any time, against any team. There was jogo bonito and there was strategy.
"It wasn't as brilliant in 1994. Much less in 1998, although we did pretty well before the final. The 2002 team earned Brazil credibility, especially after our win over Belgium in the round of sixteen."
It's widely accepted that Brazil's current guise does not possess anywhere near the flair nor creativity that their 2002 counterparts, spearheaded by Ronaldo, could boast. Nevertheless, Ronaldo believes that his nation are still the "favourites" to get the better of a much-fancied German team in Belo Horizonte tonight, even without Neymar and suspended skipper Thiago Silva.
"Everyone got a little scared with the injury he picked up, and there's no question Brazil have lost a star and their main goal threat," he told FIFA's official website. "We have to press on, though. It's a big match between two of world football's great teams and I don't see them as clear favourites. A Selecao are always favourites, against any team in the world."
You can find out if Sports Mole's three pundits agree with that viewpoint here.