Ronaldo, nightclubs and my summer at the 1997 Copa América | Jack Carroll

When he wasn’t winning the Copa América for Brazil or breaking the world transfer record, the original Ronaldo enjoyed a few big nights out in La Paz

By Jack Carroll for The Set Pieces, part of the Guardian Sport Network

It was a good time to be a young man looking to break into the big, bad world of football writing. I started a week’s work experience at the Sunday Telegraph sports desk on the day England lost on penalties to Germany at Euro 96. It turned into another week and so on. I had no journalistic training, did not know shorthand and was completely winging it, but ended up staying for five years.

In the summer of 1997 the internet was in its infancy – people used to buy newspapers – and if you wanted to work in sports journalism, the Telegraph was highly regarded. The sports editor, Colin Gibson, was a former chief football writer, and he knew everyone. Rumour has it that Sepp Blatter once held up a Uefa press conference as Colin was late in arriving, saying: “Ve vill vait for Mister Big.”

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