Ronaldo Luís Nazário de Lima, popularly dubbed as ‘O Fenômeno’ or ‘The Phenomenon’ or Ronaldo Brazil, is widely popular as one of the greatest football players of all time.
Known for his dribbling skills and clinical finishing, he broke the world record for highest transfer fees twice. He became the first player to score more than 200 goals before he turned 23.
Ronaldo Nazário Short Facts
|Full name||Ronaldo Luís Nazário de Lima|
|Date of birth||18 September 1976 (age 42)|
|Place of birth||Rio de Janeiro, Brazil|
|Height||1.83 m (6 ft 0 in)|
Ronaldo Brazil Skills Video
Nike commissioned their first ever Mercurial boot, the R9, for Ronaldo in 1998. Brazilian legend Pelé inducted him in the FIFA 100 list of the greatest living footballers in 2004.
Ronaldo also earned his place in both the Brazilian Football Hall of Fame and the Italian Football Hall of Fame. He scored a total of 247 goals in 343 official club appearances during his heydays. Besides, he scored 62 goals in 98 matches for the Brazilian national team.
Ronaldo achieved both the European Golden Boot and La Liga Golden Boot in 1997. The following year, he achieved the UEFA Club Footballer of the Year award. Besides, he also received the Serie A Footballer of the Year in 1998.
Ronaldo Brazil has an unbelievable record in the FIFA World Cups. He first achieved the Golden Ball as the best footballer of the tournament in the 1998 FIFA World Cup. He then helped his side to win the 2002 FIFA World Cup and also received the Golden Boot as top goalscorer of the tournament.
Ronaldo then created his previous record of most goals in World Cups in his 15th career FIFA World Cup goals in the 2006 edition.
Besides football, he received praises from football pundits as one of the best futsal players. Although he achieved numerous accolades in his football career, but he himself once said “futsal will always be my first love.”
Ronaldo Childhood Career
At the age of just 12, Ronaldo started playing for the Social Ramos athletic indoor futsal team. He instantly created a buzz while scoring 11 goals in a single match. Besides, he scored a record 166 goals and led his side to win the city youth league in his debut season.
Former Brazilian star Jairzinho then spotted him and inducted him into the São Cristóvão youth team. Reinaldo Pitta and Alexandre Martins then signed the 13-year-old Ronaldo. Shortly after, Jairzinho announced him as a child prodigy and recommended him to play for his former club Cruzeiro.
Ronaldo Cruzeiro Career
Ronaldo started his footballing journey while playing for Cruzeiro in 1993, at the age of just 16. He made his debut for the club in the Minas Gerais State Championship match against Caldense on 25th May 1993.
He again created a buzz while scoring five times in a match against Bahia on 7th November 1993. Ronaldo helped the side to secure their first Copa do Brasil in 1993 followed by their Minas Gerais State Championship winning run in 1994. He scored 44 goals in 47 matches for Cruzeiro.
Ronaldo PSV Eindhoven Career
Brazilian football legend Romário advised Ronaldo to move to PSV Eindhoven. He then joined the Dutch side following the 1994 FIFA World Cup. Ronaldo scored 30 league goals in his debut season in the Netherlands. He scored his first professional hat-trick in a 1994–95 UEFA Cup match against Bayer Leverkusen.
During his second season, he suffered a horrible knee injury and spent most of the season outside the ground. He made just 21 appearances that season but succeeded to score 19 times. Ronaldo became the top scorer of the Eredivisie in 1995 and helped the side to win the Dutch Cup in 1996. He scored 54 times in 58 games during his time with PSV Eindhoven.
Ronaldo Barcelona Career
Spanish club Barcelona bought Ronaldo Brazil for a then world record transfer fee of $19.5 million. He then made a sensational debut and scored 47 goals in 49 games in all competitions in the 1996–97 season.
He led Barcelona to win the UEFA Cup Winners’ Cup while scoring the winning goal in the final match. Besides, he also helped the Catalan side to win the Copa del Rey and Supercopa de España.
Ronaldo then won the FIFA World Player of the Year in 1996 and became the youngest player to achieve that feat at the age of just 20. That same 1997 season, he scored 34 goals in 37 games and achieved the La Liga Golden Shoe and the European Golden Shoe.
Tragically, his time at Camp Nou lasted for a single season as both the parties failed to arrive in a negotiation for his contract extension.
Ronaldo Inter Milan Career
Ronaldo Brazil joined the Italian side Inter Milan for a then world record transfer fee of $27 million in the summer transfer window of 1997. He scored 25 goals in his debut season and named as the Serie A Footballer of the Year.
Shortly after, he achieved his first Ballon d’Or and his second FIFA World Player of the Year. Ronaldo then scored his trademark goal for Inter Milan in the 1998 UEFA Cup Final against Lazio. Ahead of the 1999-2000 football season, he became the captain of the Inter Milan.
He suffered a horrific injury in his left knee during a Serie A match against Lecce on 21st November 1999. The medical examination then confirmed that he ruptured his knee tendon.
Ronaldo opted for a surgery followed by a brief recovery period. He then again suffered a complete rupture of the knee-cap tendons in his comeback match at the first leg of the Coppa Italia final against Lazio on 12th April 2000.
Following his comeback, he again started showing his talent that also earned him his nickname ‘Il Fenomeno’. He scored 59 goals in 99 games during his five-season career with Nerazzurri. Recently in 2018, Inter Milan gave a tribute to his performance and named him as one of the only four inaugural inductees into their Hall of Fame.
Ronaldo Real Madrid Career
Ronaldo Brazil joined the La Liga side Real Madrid for €46 million. The club witnessed a record jersey sale on the first day of his Santiago Bernabeu career.
He then became a part of the ‘Galácticos Era’ along with Zinedine Zidane, David Beckham, Luís Figo, and his Brazilian teammate Roberto Carlos. Ronaldo scored a brace in his debut match against Alavés at the Santiago Bernabéu and received a standing ovation. He scored 23 La Liga goals in his debut season and helped Los Blancos to win the Spanish league in 2003.
Ronaldo also helped his side to secure the Intercontinental Cup in 2002 and the Spanish Super Cup in 2003. He then scored his first hat-trick for Real Madrid in the Champions League quarter-final second leg match against Manchester United at Old Trafford.
Ronaldo scored just 15 seconds after the starting whistle in a La Liga match against Atlético Madrid at the Santiago Bernabeu on 3 December 2003 thus marking one of the fastest goals in Real Madrid’s history.
He scored a total of 25 La Liga goals that season and became the Spanish League top scorer while winning the Pichichi Trophy and La Liga Golden Shoe. Sadly, he missed several games in his last two seasons with Real Madrid due to repeated injuries and weight-related issues.
However, Spanish newspaper ‘Marca’ named him among the ‘Best foreign eleven in Real Madrid’s history’.
Ronaldo AC Milan Career
Ronaldo Brazil joined the Serie A side AC Milan on 18th January 2007 for a transfer of €8.05 million. He then made his debut for the club wearing the ‘No. 99’ jersey in a match against Livorno on 11th February 2007.
He scored his first brace for Milan in a Serie A match against Siena on 17th February 2007. Due to his recurring injury issues and weight-related problems, Ronaldo played just a little more than 300 minutes in his debut season with AC Milan.
He scored his only goal of the 2007-08 football season in a Serie A match against Napoli at the San Siro. Ronaldo again suffered a knee injury while receiving an aerial cross in a match against Livorno on 13th February 2008.
The medical examination then confirmed that he again ruptured his left kneecap’s ligament. He spent the rest of the season outside the ground due to that injury.
Ronaldo Corinthians Career
Following his recovery from knee surgery, Ronaldo started training with Rio de Janeiro based football club Flamengo. With much surprise, he signed a one-year deal with Flamengo’s rival side Corinthians on 9th December 2008.
He made his debut for the club in a Copa do Brasil match against Itumbiara at Estádio Juscelino Kubitschek on 4th March 2009. Shortly after, Ronaldo scored his first goal for Corinthians in a Campeonato Paulista match against Palmeiras on 8th March 2009. He scored his first brace for the club in the 2009 Copa do Brasil final against Internacional.
Ronaldo Retirement from Club Football
Ronaldo Brazil signed a one-year contract extension with Corinthians in February 2010. In February 2011, he announced his retirement from professional football following the defeat of Corinthians in the 2011 Copa Libertadores against the Colombian side Deportes Tolima.
He then appeared in an emotional press conference on 14th February 2011 and cited hypothyroidism-related issues as the primary reason for his premature retirement.
Ronaldo Brazil Career
Ronaldo made his international debut for Brazil in a friendly match against Argentina in Recife on 23rd March 1994. He became a part of the Brazil’s 1994 FIFA World Cup squad in the United States at the age of just 17, although he did not play any matches.
Ronaldo won his first major international trophy at the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta where they achieved the bronze medal. He then helped his nation to win the 1997 Copa América. He scored the winning goal in the final against Bolivia and named the player of the tournament on that occasion.
Ronaldo 1998 FIFA World Cup Legacy
Ronaldo Brazil cited as the world’s greatest footballer by reporters ahead of the 1998 FIFA World Cup. He helped his nation to secure their place in the final and scored 4 goals with 3 assists en route.
Tragically, he suffered a convulsive fit few hours before the final match and Brazil replace him with Edmundo. Shortly before the kick-off, he felt fine and requested Brazilian coach Mário Zagallo to give him the playing opportunity.
However, France defeated his team by 3-0 at the final. Ronaldo achieved the Golden Ball as the best player of the FIFA World Cup. Besides, he also achieved the Broze Shoe for being the joint-third highest scorer in the tournament.
Ronaldo 2002 FIFA World Cup Legacy
Ronaldo helped his nation to win their fifth FIFA World Cup title in 2002. He displayed one of the best international performances of all-time and scored eight goals in the tournament. Along with Rivaldo and Ronaldinho, Ronaldo Brazil made a formidable attacking trio.
All three has achieved their places in the FIFA World Cup All-Star Team and Ronaldo won the Golden Boot for being the top scorer. Ronaldo scored against each opponent in the tournament except England whom they faced in the quarter-finals.
He then scored twice to secure their victory in the final match against Germany in Yokohama, Japan. Besides, he also tied Pelé’s record of 12 World Cup goals.
For his brilliant performance of that tournament, Ronaldo received both the Laureus World Sports Award and the BBC Overseas Sports Personality of the Year award. That same year, he received his third FIFA World Player of the Year award. He dedicated that award to his medical team that helped him recover from the knee injury.
Ronaldo 2006 FIFA World Cup Legacy
Ronaldo scored a brilliant hat-trick against their archrival Argentina in a FIFA World Cup qualifying match on 2nd June 2004. He then became a part of the much-publicized ‘magic quartet’ of Brazil consisting Ronaldinho, Kaká, and Adriano besides him.
He helped his nation to secure their first two group-stage matches against Croatia and Australia, although he received heavy criticism for being extremely overweight.
Ronaldo then scored a brace against Japan in their third match and became the 20th footballer to score in three FIFA World Cups. He scored his fifteenth World Cup goal in the ‘Round of 16’ match against Ghana and broke the long-standing record of Gerd Müller.
France then knocked out Brazil in the quarter-finals. However, Ronaldo again received the Bronze Shoe for being the third-highest goalscorer.
Ronaldo Brazil Farewell
Brazil announced that Ronaldo will play his last match for his nation in a friendly against Romania in São Paulo on 7th June 2011, although he played his last official match five years earlier.
He played for just 15 minutes on that match and Fred gave him tribute with the iconic ‘finger wag’ celebration. Ronaldo Brazil retired from football as the second highest goalscorer for his nation with 62 goals in 98 matches.
Ronaldo then appeared alongside Zinedine Zidane in a charity match against German club Hamburg on 13th December 2011 as a part of the ‘Match Against Poverty’ series.
FIFA then named him as one of the six ambassadors of the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil. The United Nations Development Programme also chose him as their goodwill ambassador.
He recently participated in the opening ceremony of the 2018 FIFA World Cup at the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow on 14th June 2018.
Ronaldo Brazil Personal Life
Ronaldo Brazil was born as Ronaldo Luís Nazário de Lima in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, on 18th September 1976. He is the third child of his father, Nélio Nazário de Lima, and his mother, Sônia dos Santos Barata.
However, his parents separated when Ronaldo was just 11 years old. Following the separation, Ronaldo dropped his formal education to pursue a career in football. He grew up in the streets of Bento Ribeiro along with his brother Nélio Jr.
Ronaldo Girlfriends and Relationships
Ronaldo Brazil met the Brazilian actress and model Susana Werner on the set of telenovela Malhação in 1997. Right after acting together for three episodes, they started a long-term relationship that lasted till the beginning of 1999.
They also lived together in Milan, although they never married. Ronaldo then married Brazilian female footballer Milene Domingues in April 1999. Their first son, Ronald was born in Milan on 6th April 2000.
Their marriage lasted for four years till Ronaldo became engaged to another Brazilian actress and VJ Daniela Cicarelli in 2005. They had a luxurious wedding at the Château de Chantilly that reportedly cost €896,000.
Tragically, the marriage lasted for just three months and Cicarelli suffered a miscarriage. Ronaldo then started his relationship with Maria Beatriz Antony. Their first daughter, Maria Sophia, was born in Rio de Janeiro on 24th December 2008.
They moved to their new penthouse in São Paulo in April 2009. Shortly after, they had their second daughter, Maria Alice, on 6th April 2010. Besides confirmed relationships, Ronaldo has few controversial linkups.
He took a paternity test and tested positive for being the father of a boy named Alexander. Ronaldo started dating a Brazilian waitress named Michele Umezu in 2002. And, the boy was born in April 2005.
Ronaldo unexpectedly identified himself racially as white in an interview with Folha de S.Paulo in 2005. That remark attracted a widespread criticism in Brazil. He then became involved in a scandal with three travesti prostitutes in a nightclub in Rio de Janeiro in April 2008.
Ronaldo later revealed that he offered them $600 to leave but one among them demanded $30,000. It is also reported that one of those travesti prostitutes exposed that case to the Brazilian media.
Ronaldo Business and Club Ownerships
Ronaldo Brazil co-owned the of A1 Team Brazil alongside former F1 star Emerson Fittipaldi. He also co-owns the sports marketing company called 9INE with the mixed martial artist Anderson Silva.
He always identified himself as a keen poker player and became a member of the PokerStars SportStar in April 2013. Ronaldo played a charity poker tournament against Rafael Nadal in 2014.
He purchased a minority stake of the North American Soccer League franchise Fort Lauderdale Strikers on 11th December 2014. Ronaldo inaugurated eight new branches of his football training center, the Ronaldo Academy, in 2015.
He has a plan to open 100 centers worldwide by the end of 2020. Recently in September 2018, Ronaldo Brazil purchased 51% controlling stake of La Liga club Real Valladolid for €30 million.
Ronaldo TV Appearances and Ads
He appeared in the 18th season of ‘The Simpsons’ episode called “Marge Gamer” that broadcasted in April 2007. Ronaldo then made cameo appearances in ‘Goal!’ in 2005, ‘Goal II: Living the Dream’ in 2007, and ‘Goal III: Taking on the World’ in 2009.
The official song of the 2014 FIFA World Cup by Jennifer Lopez and Pitbull, ‘We Are One (Ole Ola)’, featured the archive footage of Ronaldo Brazil. Besides, he appeared in several commercials for several global brands such as Snickers chocolates and Pirelli tyres.
EA Games added Ronaldo as an icon in the Ultimate Team of the FIFA 18 football game. He appeared in several Nike commercial as their main brand ambassador.
Ronaldo first appeared in the Nike commercial called ‘Good vs Evil’ in 1996. He then appeared in another Nike commercial alongside several of his Brazilian teammates in 1998. Ronaldo also starred the 2002 FIFA World Cup run-up called the ‘Secret Tournament’.
He then appeared in Nike’s 2014 FIFA World Cup animated commercial called ‘Risk Everything’.
Ronaldo Club Honors
- Copa do Brasil: 1993
- Campeonato Mineiro: 1994
- KNVB Cup: 1996
- Johan Cruijff-schaal: 1996
- Supercopa de España: 1996
- Copa del Rey: 1997
- UEFA Cup Winners’ Cup: 1997
- UEFA Cup: 1998
- Intercontinental Cup: 2002
- La Liga: 2003 and 2007
- Supercopa de España: 2003
- Campeonato Paulista: 2009
- Copa do Brasil: 2009
Ronaldo Brazil Honors
- FIFA World Cup: 1994 and 2002
- FIFA World Cup Runners-up: 1998
- Copa América: 1997 and 1999
- Copa América Runners-up: 1995
- FIFA Confederations Cup: 1997
- Summer Olympic Games Bronze Medal: 1996
Ronaldo Individual Awards
- Supercopa Libertadores Top Scorer: 1994
- Campeonato Mineiro Top Scorer: 1994
- Eredivisie Top Scorer: 1995
- FIFA World Player of the Year: 1996, 1997, and 2002
- Pichichi Trophy: 1997 and 2004
- European Golden Boot: 1997
- Copa América MVP and Final MVP: 1997
- FIFA Confederations Cup Bronze Boot: 1997
- UEFA Cup Winners’ Cup Final MVP: 1997
- IFFHS World’s Top Goal Scorer of the Year: 1997
- Onze d’Or: 1997 and 2002
- Ballon d’Or: 1997 and 2002
- Serie A Footballer of the Year: 1998
- UEFA Club Footballer of the Year: 1998
- FIFA World Cup Golden Ball: 1998
- Inter Milan Player Of The Year: 1998
- FIFA World Cup Golden Shoe: 2002
- FIFA World Cup Silver Ball: 2002
- BBC Overseas Sports Personality of the Year: 2002
- Laureus World Sports Awards Comeback of the Year: 2003
- FIFA World Cup Bronze Boot: 2006
Ronaldo Hall of Fame
- Brazilian Football Museum Hall of Fame: 2006
- Real Madrid Hall of Fame: 2010
- Italian Football Hall of Fame: 2015
- Inter Milan Hall of Fame: 2018
a tribute to legend from RonaldoNation.com.