"We lost the World Cup but I won another cup - my life," Ronaldo later reflected.
"I don't remember what happened but I went to sleep and, like the doctor said, it seems I had a fit for about 30 or 40 seconds."
The most dramatic account came from Ronaldo's roommate Roberto Carlos.
He said: "Ronaldo was scared about what lay ahead. The pressure had got to him and he couldn't stop crying.
"If anything, it got worse because, at about four o'clock, he started being sick. That's when I called the team doctor and told him to get over to our room as fast as he could."
The Brazilian media demanded to know why Ronaldo had been allowed to play when his mind was clearly not on the game.
Team officials said he had been taken to hospital during the afternoon and his place in the team had been given to Edmundo.
When Zagalo addressed his side in the hotel he had reminded his players about 1962, when Brazil won the World Cup without the injured Pele.
But Ronaldo had later arrived at the Stade de France and declared himself fit to play.
Zagalo said after the game: "I kept thinking about taking him off.
"But he said he felt well enough to play and if I had not played Ronaldo after he said he was fit, I'd have been under even more criticism."
There were claims that team sponsors Nike had put pressure on Zagalo to play him. These were hotly denied.
The Ronaldo affair even resurfaced last year at a congressional inquiry into the finances of Brazilian football.
The player was called to give evidence, insisting the decision to play in the final had been entirely his own.
He was also asked whether it had been his job to mark Zidane at corners.
Ronaldo could not remember, but added with a smile that whoever it was had not done their job very well.