Ronaldo was born Luis Nazario de Lima and grew up in the suburbs of Rio de Janeiro. Inspired by his childhood hero Zico, he joined a youth club called Valqueire. There, Ronaldo played futsal or “futebol de salão”. In the following few years, he took part in various youth tournaments and was eventually signed by Cruzeiro. At the age of 17, Ronaldo debuted with Brazil’s national team. He performed well and was selected for the 1994 World Cup squad. Because of his young age, Ronaldo remained on the bench and watched as his country won the World Cup. Fortunately, Ronaldo’s international career did end there. He moved to PSV Eindhoven in Holland where he quickly became the top scorer of the league.
“His movement off the ball was incredible. I’ve never seen anyone with better movement. He positioned himself in such a way, it would make it really easy to play alongside him. I’d like to have played with him, and I’m sure he would then have scored 2000 goals, because I would’ve given him the ball every time.” Zico
With his growing success in Europe, it didn’t take long until Ronaldo was singed by FC Barcelona. In Spain, he earned global recognition by scoring regularly in decisive matches. After a few seasons with Barcelona, Ronaldo was signed by Inter Milan. Ronaldo’s debut in Serie A was promising, but playing against the rough Italian defenders eventually took its toll.
The year 1998 marks a decline in Ronaldo’s career. He led Brazil to the World Cup final, but failed to deliver in the final. His country settled for silver as a range of speculations (from illness to black magic) were made about his poor form. By the end of 1998, Ronaldo was forced to leave the pitch after a knee injury that he picked up with Inter. The injury haunted Ronaldo for a while forcing him to miss the entire 2001 season.
After recovering from his injury, Ronaldo returned to the Brazilian squad. In 2002, he earned his country the World Cup trophy by scoring two goals in the final against Germany. Four years later, Ronaldo became the all-time leading goalscorer in the World Cup. Ronaldo surpassed Gerhard Müller’s previous record of 14 goals. Nevertheless, Brazil was eliminated in the quarterfinals after losing to France.
“That’s Ronaldo. Someone who gets the ball, runs into the box and scores. He only ever needs half a chance. There’s no stopping him.” former teammate Cafu
In 2002, Real Madrid paid €46 million to sign Ronaldo. He was set to play alongside a number of all-stars or “galácticos” including Zidane, Luis Figo, Raul and Roberto Carlos. During his four-year stay, Real Madrid won two La Liga tiles. Ronaldo moved to AC Milan in the beginning of 2007 and remained there for a couple of years before returning to Brazil with Corinthians. In February of 2011, Ronaldo retired from football stating that his body had finally succumbed to the numerous injuries he had suffered throughout his career.
Ronaldo is the type of player that can beat any defender in 1v1. He is technically skilled yet also has the strength to out-muscle and go around opponents.
|Name||Ronaldo Luis Nazario de Lima|
|Born||22 September 1976 in Bento Ribeiro, Rio de Janeiro|
|Height||184 cm / 6 feet|
|Weight||89 kg / 197 pounds|
PSV Eindhoven (Holland)
Real Madrid (Spain)
AC Milan (Italy)