Ronaldo (Ronaldo Luís Nazário de Lima)

Ronaldo Luís Nazário de Lima was one of the most celebrated football players of the late 1990s and early 2000s. Born in Brazil 1976, Ronaldo received his first Ballon d’Or at the tender age of 21. Five years later he was awarded with another one, and Ronaldo has also been given the FIFA Player of the Year award three times.

During his football career, Ronaldo played 97 international matches for the Brazilian national team and scored 62 goals. He help his team to victory in the FIFA World Cup of 1994 and 2002, and during the 2006 FIFA World Cup he scored his 15th goal, becoming the tournaments most prolific scorer ever. 

Career

At the age of 12, Ronaldo was active in the Tennis Club Valqueire where he didn’t play tennis but futebol de salão, a type of football (soccer) played with a very small ball. Playing with such as small ball is believed to have improved Ronaldo’s ball skills.

In 1993, Ronaldo started playing for Cruzeiro di Belo Horizonte, a football club on the rise. During Ronaldo’s year with Cruzeiro di Belo Horizonte, the team won Copa do Brasil for the first time. Ronaldo played 14 games and scored 12 goals.

In 1994, Ronaldo joined PSV Eindhoven and moved to the Netherlands. He scored 30 goals during his first season, but suffered a knee injury during his second season which forced him to sit out a lot of matches. During the 13 matches he did play he scored a total of 12 goals. In 1996, Ronaldo helped his team to a victory in the Dutch Cup.

After receiving $17 million, PSV Eindhoven released Ronaldo to FC Barcelona. During his first season in Spain, Ronaldo played 49 games and scored 47 goals. FC Barcelona won EUFA Cup Winner’s Cup, Copa del Rey and Supercopa de España. In 1997, Ronaldo became the best scorer in La Liga by scoring 34 goals over 37 matches.

Ronaldo transferred to Inter Milan in 1997. He quickly adapted to life in Italy and became the second highest goal scorer during his initial season with Inter Milan. Ronaldo was appointed the role of team captain and stayed with Inter until 2002. In match against Lecce in 1999, Ronaldo suffered a knee injury and was forced to undergo surgery. He returned to the football field the following year, but only played for seven minutes before damaging his knee again. He could not return to football until the fall of 2002, and by then he had already transferred to Real Madrid.

Despite the knee injury Real Madrid was willing to pay €46 million for Ronaldo and he commenced play in October 2002, scoring two goals during his first match and receiving standing ovations from the crowd. During his first season with Real Madrid, Ronaldo scored 23 goals in league matches. Real Madrid won the Intercontinental Cup in 2002, and was victorious in both the La Liga Championships and the Spanish Super Cup in 2003. By the end of the 2003/2004 season Ronaldo suffered another injury, but remained the top scorer of the league and was awarded the Pichichi Trophy.

In 2007 Ronaldo transferred to AC Milan where he played 14 matches and scored seven goals during his first season. All in all, Ronaldo played 20 matches for AC Milan before suffering another severe knee injury and during this time he scored a total of nine goals. The knee injury benched Ronaldo for the remainder of the season and his contract was not renewed.

While trying to rehabilitate his injured knee after yet another surgery, Ronaldo played for Flamengo in Brazil. He then signed with their arch rival Corinthians and scored ten goals for them over the course of 14 matches, helping Corinthians to victories in both Campeonato Paulista and Brazil Cup. In Brazilian Serie A, Ronaldo scored 12 goals over 20 matches.

When Ronaldo’s contract with Corinthians was renewed in February 2010 he announced that he would retire from football at the end of 2011. However, injuries and his struggle with hypothyroidism forced him into retirement in February 2011.

Private life

  • Ronaldo was born in 1976 as the third child of  Nélio Nazário de Lima and Sônia dos Santos Barata.
  • Ronaldo grew up in a poor neighborhood in the outskirts of Rio de Janeiro.
  • Ronaldo married Brazilian football player  Milene Domingues in 1999 and the couple divorced four years later. They have a son named Ronaldo born in 2000.
  • Ronaldo married Brazilian model and TV-host Daniel Cicarelli in 2005. The marriage was dissolved after three months.
  • In 2005, a Brazilian waitress named Michele Umezu gave birth to Ronaldo’s son Alexander.
  • Ronaldo has two daughters with his fiancee Maria Beatriz Antony;  Maria Sophia born in 2010 and Maria Alice born in 2010. The family resides in São Paulo.