Ronaldo Luís Nazário de Lima or nicknamed “O Fenômeno” was undoubtfully one of the greatest footballers of the world.
He is known for his speed, technical ability and goal scoring skills. Being a hard-working striker, Ronaldo earned several awards for becoming the top scorer in domestic leagues and worldwide competitions.
Ronaldo was born in Rio de Janeiro on September 18, 1976. He started playing at a young age, skipping his classes. At the age of 12, Ronaldo joined a local futsal club Social Ramos.
After playing at São Cristóvão youth squad from 1990 to 1993, he signed his professional contract with Cruzeiro.
Ronaldo made his 1st appearance on May 25, 1993 against Caldense. On November 7, 1993 he drew everyone’s attention, scoring 5 goals against Bahia in the 6-0 victory.
Ronaldo led his club to the Copa do Brasil 1993 and Minas Gerais State Championship 1994 victories.
Staying at the club for one season, he scored 44 goals in 47 matches, and then transferred to PSV Eindhoven.
Ronaldo became the top scorer of Eredivisie 1994-95 with 30 goals, including a hat-trick against Bayer Leverkusen during 1994-95 UEFA Cup. He managed to impress even the opponents, with his speed and dribbling skills.
His 2nd season wasn’t that good; yet, he managed to score 19 goals in 21 games. PSV won Dutch Cup 1995-96, also Dutch Super Cup 1996.
Ronaldo scored a total of 54 goals in 58 appearances for PSV, before moving to Barcelona in 1996.
Ronaldo signed with Barcelona on a $19.5 million world record fee. During his tenure, he led the club to many victories.
Barcelona won 1996-97 Copa del Rey as Ronaldo scored 6 goals in the competition.
Ronaldo also helped the club win 1996 Supercopa de España, scoring a goal against Atlético Madrid in the 1stleg.
As Ronaldo scored the only goal in the final game against Paris Saint-Germain, Barcelona won UEFA Cup Winners’ Cup 1996-97.
In 1997, Ronaldo earned European Golden Shoe and La Liga top scorer awards, as he scored 34 goals in that year.
World Record Transfer Fee
Barcelona didn’t renew his contract due to some problems. In 1997, Inter Milan signed him for $27 million. It was a world record, making him the 2nd player to break the record twice.
Ronaldo earned Serie-A Footballer of the Year award, finishing his 1st season with 25 goals.
He scored a goal against Lazio in 1998 UEFA Cup final and helped Inter win the tournament.
Ronaldo became the team’s captain after his 2nd season. Even though the expectations were high, he unfortunately had a knee injury on November 21, 1999.
He made his comeback on April 12, 2000 against Lazio in Coppa Italia final. However, Ronaldo could only play for 6 minutes in the game and got replaced due to his pain.
He left the captain’s armband to Zanetti, who replaced him when Ronaldo missed all the games of 2000-01 season.
Ronaldo played at Inter for 5 years, scoring 59 goals in 99 games totally, despite his injuries.
He left the club where he earned his famous nickname “Il Fenomeno” in 2002, and transferred to Real Madrid for €46 million.
Ronaldo managed to show great performance in his 1st season, although he suffered from injury.
Real won 2003 La Liga as Ronaldo scored 23 goals. Ronaldo also helped the Intercontinental Cup 2002 and Supercopa de España 2003 victories, as he scored in both finals.
In the 2002-03 UEFA Champions League quarter finals, Ronaldo scored a hat-trick against Manchester United and advanced to semi-finals.
He scored as they beat Juventus 2-1 in the 1st leg of the semi-finals. However, Ronaldo couldn’t play in the 2ndleg due to injury and Real lost the tournament.
On December 3, 2003, Ronaldo scored a goal against Atlético Madrid in 15 seconds. It was one of the fastest goals in Real’s history.
He finished La Liga as the top scorer with 25 goals and earned Pichichi Trophy. However, Ronaldo couldn’t save his club from losing La Liga title, also the UEFA Champions League tournament.
Ronalldo missed a lot of games in his last 2 seasons due to injury and weight problems. Yet, he scored 83 goals for the club and got in the best foreign 11 in Real’s history.
After being the top scorer in each season at Real Madrid, Ronaldo signed with AC Milan in January 2007.
Ronaldo played in 14 games and scored 7 goals in his 1st season after his debut on February 11, 2007.
In 2007-08 season, he scored 2 goals in a 5-2 victory over Napoli and became the Man of the Match. However, those were his only goals in that season, since he missed the games because of injury.
Milan didn’t renew Ronaldos’s contract after expiration date and released him.
Ronado signed a one-year contract with Corinthians on December 9, 2008, although he trained with Flamengo during recovery.
He made his debut on March 4, 2009 during Copa do Brasil, which they eventually won.
Corinthians also won 2009 Paulistão, as Ronaldo scored 10 goals in 14 matches.
Before Ronaldo extended his contract to 2011, he finished 2009 Campeonato Brasileiro Série A with 12 goals.
End of an 18-year Career
After 2011 Copa Libertadores defeat, Ronaldo announced his retirement since he found out he had hypothyroidism.
Brazil National Team
Ronalo made his 1st appearance for the national team on March 23, 1994 against Argentina. On May 4, 1994, he scored his 1st senior goal as Brazil beat Iceland 3-0.
Ronaldo joined 1995 Copa América, which they finished runners-up to Uruguay. He then starred in 1996 Olympic Games as Brazil won a bronze medal.
In 1997 Copa América, Ronalddo became the player of the tournament scoring 5 goals and led Brazil to the victory.
As a warm-up to World Cup 1998, Ronaldo starred in Tournoi de France 1997 where they finished runners-up to England.
Ronaldoa scored 4 goals in 1997 Confederations Cup and led the team to their 1st Confederations Cup victory.
He performed well during World Cup 1998, scoring 4 goals and earning the Golden Ball award. However, Ronaldo suddenly suffered a seizure right before the final as Brazil lost 3-0 to France.
Ronalo then joined 1999 Copa América, in which he became the top scorer and guided Brazil to the victory.
After missing the qualifications for World Cup 2002 due to injury, he managed to return for the tournament. In the final game against Germany, he scored 2 goals and won the competition.
Ronado scored a total of 8 goals and won Golden Shoe award. Doing so, he got named in the All-Star Team as a forward.
He became the South American top scorer during qualifications for World Cup 2006 with 10 goals in 15 matches.
Although Brazil got eliminated by France during the quarter finals, Ronaldo scored 3 goals and won the Bronze Boot. By doing so, he became the 2nd player scoring at least 3 goals in 3 World Cups.
After 5 years from his last game, Ronaldo played his farewell match for the national team. He then ended his international career after 62 goals in 98 appearances.