Brazil’s Ronaldo, not to be confused with Cristiano Ronaldo, is considered by many to be one of the great strikers in the history of world soccer. Furthermore, he is remembered as an elite World Cup performer; he is second on the list of players with the most goals in the legendary event’s history with 15, just behind Miroslav Klose, who broke Ronaldo’s record during the 2014 World Cup.
Join us as we look back at the career of the Brazilian legend and see what he’s up to now.
Full Name: Ronaldo Luís Nazário de Lima
Birthdate: September 18, 1976
Birth Place: Rio De Janeiro, Brazil
Ronaldo made his official first appearance on a professional soccer-field at the age of 16, for Cruzeiro, a Brazilian team in the countries top league. Ronaldo dominated in two seasons with the club, scoring 44 goals in 47 games. Seen as a wunderkind with a good deal of potential, Europe naturally came calling. In 1994, the Dutch club Philips Sport Vereniging (PSV) Eindhoven purchased Ronaldo. PSV’s investment was a smart one, as Ronaldo would score a staggering 54 goals in 58 games while in the Netherlands.
In 1996, iconic Spanish team Barcelona purchased him from PSV for a then-record 19.5 Million Dollars. Ronaldo would only last one season in Barcelona due to contract issues, but he made a lasting mark, scoring 47 goals in 49 games and 34 specifically in La Liga, a record which would stand for over a decade.
After the aforementioned Contract problems, Inter Milan snatched Ronaldo for $27 million, topping the previous record Barcelona had set after buying the Brazilian striker from PSV. To adapt to the Italian game, Ronaldo would change his playing style, becoming less of a pure goal scorer and more of an all-around attacker. The changes paid off and Ronaldo would take home various international awards and club championships. It was during his time with Inter that Ronaldo truly entered iconography. After winning the World Cup in 2002 (which will be touched upon in the next section), Ronaldo would head to Real Madrid, where he would play for four decorated seasons. After that, he played for AC Milan. He would end his career in 2011 with Brazilian club Corinthians.
Casual fans likely know Ronaldo most for his play in three World Cups: 1998, 2002 and 2006. In ’98, Ronaldo was part of a Brazil squad that reached the final against France before losing 3-0. He would score four goals and add three assists during that competition. A better result came in 2002 when Brazil would topple Germany in the final on the countries way to its fifth World Cup crown.
Ronaldo was amazing during that run to the title, scoring in every game except one and adding two more in the Finals. In 2006, Ronaldo would pad his (at the time) all-time goal-scoring record before losing to France in the quarterfinals.
Where is He Now?
Since retiring, Ronaldo has maintained his level of international celebrity. He has ventured into the world of Sports-ownership, having a stake in North American soccer team Fort Lauderdale Strikers and at one time owning motorsport team A1 Brazil. It is widely expected that the Brazilian icon will take part in the opening ceremonies of the 2018 World Cup.