Great Brazilian Soccer Players: Ronaldo Luís Nazário
Hailing from Lima, Brazil, Ronaldo Luís Nazário was one of the most prolific players in soccer history. He is also known to have scored the highest number of goals in the late 1990’s and the early 2000’s. His football skills are one of the best in the world. He has not only been a number one choice as a penalty taker but also for taking and scoring free kicks. He was a complete forward that anyone could bet on, eyes closed. He was a player of great speed with the ability of carrying the ball over long distances.
Life of Ronaldo
Ronaldo was born on 22nd September 1976 in the poor suburbs of Rio de Janeiro. Football was in his blood and at 12 years itself he started playing for ‘Tennis Club Valqueire’. He married Milene Domingues and was gifted with a child whom they called Ronald. The couple later filled for divorce.
Career of Ronaldo
Ronaldo’s career in football began in 1993 when he was hired by ‘Cruzeiro Club’ for the sum US$ 10,000. He debuted as a professional by scoring 12 goals and eventually leading the club to win the much coveted ‘Copa do Brasil’ championship.
At the age of 17, Ronaldo joined ‘PSV Eindhoven Club’ in the Netherlands, to begin his career in European Football. He was actually hesitant at first but after the persuasion from former team striker, Romário, Ronaldo went ahead to play for PSV, winning them the Dutch cup in 1996. Ronaldo scored 54 goals in 57 games and also became Eredivisie’s top scorer in 1995.
Ronaldo’s outstanding performance hooked the attention of both Inter Milan and FC Barcelona. However, in 1996 Barcelona cleared a massive deal of US$ 20 million for the player. During the one year with Barcelona, Ronaldo scored 47 goals in 49 games. Ronaldo was only 20 years old when he became the youngest player to win ‘FIFA World Player of the Year’ in 1996.
After a brief period with Barcelona, Ronaldo signed up with Inter Milan for a record breaking deal of US$ 36 million. Being a born footballer, Ronaldo helped the club win the UEFA Cup. It comes to no surprise that he earned the nickname ‘Il Fenomeno’ by the Italian Press. Ronaldo stayed with Inter Milan for 5 years (1997-2002) during which he continued racking up his assets.
In 2002, he was transferred from Inter to Real Madrid who signed the footballer for an outstanding sum of US$ 45 million. Ronaldo took his team to victory in the Intercontinental Cup (2002), Spanish Super Cup (2003) and La Liga Championship (2003). Between 2002 and 2007, Ronaldo scored 104 goals in 177 games. During the later years with Real Madrid, the player’s ability was questioned numerous times by the manager due to injuries and weight issues.
So, in 2007 he moved to AC Milan for US$ 9.5 million. In his first season, Ronaldo scored seven goals in 14 appearances. Unfortunately, due to recurring injury problems and weight issues Ronaldo managed to play just around 300 plus minutes for the entire season. In 2008, the player suffered a knee injury, making it the third injury since 1998. Moreover, the player was becoming somewhat more predictable. This could have been one of the reasons that his contract with AC Milan was not renewed.
Shocking news: Ronaldo retires
In a press conferred on 14th February 2011, Ronaldo Luís Nazário officially announced his retirement from the game. According to the player, his injuries and health problems blighted his career. Even though he wanted to continue, his body wouldn’t let him. New fact that shed light on his weight issues: Ronnie suffers from hypothyroidism.
A Farewell match (The first of its kind) would be held on 7th June 2011 for his last hurrah. It is only fitting that it takes place in Brazil itself (São Paulo). The game will be played against Romania.
Fast Facts on Ronaldo
Ronaldo Luís Nazário became an obsession and there was tremendous hype surrounding him. Even during the time he was sidelined due to an injury, people were still chanting his name. It was like he hypnotized his fans. He had the strength to outmuscle and go around his marker.
Here are a few additional facts worth mentioning:
Skills: Speed dribbling, finishing.
Ronaldo is goodwill ambassador of the United Nations.
Voted the world’s best player by FIFA in 1996 and 1997.
Scored three goals in the 2006 World cup, becoming the highest scorer of all time in World Cups.
Ronaldo was voted as World Player of the year three times.
Nicknames: Rona, Ronaldinho, Fenomeno, R9, Dadado, The Extraterrestrial