None other than Ronaldo Fenômeno, a unique, legendary and unwavering player. From overwhelming start to respected CEO and Streamer in his spare time.
Ronaldo Nazário de Lima
Ronaldo was born on September 22, 1976 in the city of Rio de Janeiro. He spent his childhood in the Bento Ribeiro neighborhood in the North Side, with his parents and six siblings. Like most Brazilian players, Ronaldo went through many financial difficulties in his childhood, but that never made the little boy with big teeth stop showing his aptitude and love for football.
As a child, Ronaldo used to skip classes to play on the court of a club that was close to his school, Valqueire Tênis Clube. At the age of 12 he joined the futsal team, where he stood out with bursts full of vigor and grace, in addition to already showing a unique capacity for scoring goals.
At the age of 13, Ronaldo ended up playing at Social Ramos Clube, where he competed in the 1989 Carioca Mirim Futsal Championship, at the time he scored 48 goals, which unfortunately did not make Social Ramos Clube champion, but they managed to place get the 3rd in the competition. , which qualified them for the Brazilian championship of the category. This time the club was runner-up and Ronaldo was the top scorer.
With so much prominence due to the quality football presented in the youth futsal tournaments, Ronaldinho knew that his life would always be on the side of the round (Brazilian way to call a football), and that for a long time it would be his greatest companion, therefore, he tried to train in the youth categories of his team heart, Flamengo, but it was not possible to persue this dream, since the training sessions were very far from his home and he and his family could not afford the transport money.
So, at the age of 14, Ronaldo started training at the youth categories of São Cristóvão, a traditional club in Rio de Janeiro, which was located in the neighborhood of São Cristóvão, much closer to the home of the promising goalscorer. Ronaldo’s transition to field football was natural, and the conditions and learnings he brought from futsal were extremely important for Ronaldo to be able to print fast football on the field, with short and disconcerting dribbling and, above all, quick decision-making.
Thanks to the demonstration of unique qualities playing football so early, at the age of 14 Ronaldo had his pass bought for around 10 thousand dollars by the legendary Jairzinho, the tireless champion of the 1970s Cup. Ronado kept showing how good he was, then Jairzinho offered the young talent to Cruzeiro, which accepted the offer and in January 1993 Ronaldo was bought for around 25 thousand dollars.
The Overwhelming Beginnings in Professional Football
As soon as he arrived at Cruzeiro, Ronaldo trained very well and showed himself to be a 100% focused boy, so he began to arouse a lot of interest from the main team.
In April 1993, he was called up to the Brazilian Under-17 team to compete in the South American Championship of the category, which for the hitherto shy boy, was essential to show even more his quality that was already at a boiling point.
In the Championship held in Colombia, Brazil got to the final stage, but ended up in 4th place in the competition. Although, even so Ronaldo managed to show the world his high-level football, he was the competition’s top scorer with 8 goals.
As it couldn’t be otherwise, when he returned to Brazil, he was soon promoted to Cruzeiro’s main team, where he made his debut against Caldense on 05/25/1993. Two months after its debut, Raposa went on a tour on Portuguese soil. Coach Carlos Alberto Silva took the shy toothy kid thinking only about the composition of the squad, besides, it could be a good experience for Ronaldo to make the trip with his teammates.
But the tour was much more than that for Ronaldo, it could be said that this was the big turning point in his career. In Lisbon, at the Restelo stadium, against the Belenenses team, on August 5, 1993, after Roberto Gaúcho’s cross, Ronaldo goes up and hits a beautiful header in the goalkeeper’s corner. There is the first goal of the career of the one who was to be one of the best players ever seen in the world.
Returning from the tour, Ronaldo became part of the starting lineup for Raposa. In 1993, he played 29 matches and scored 28 goals with Celeste’s shirt. In the 1994 season it was no different, Ronaldo continued to evolve. He scored goals with his head, left, right, dribbling one, two, three opponents, it was crazy. Ronaldo was very important for winning the Minas Gerais title this year, he was the top scorer in the competition with 22 goals.
It was such a glorious season start. Several clubs in Europe tried to sign the young Brazilian promise, but who got the better deal was PSV from the Netherlands, which disbursed something around 6 million dollars.
The striker started his second season as a professional at Cruzeiro so well that, in addition to being traded to Europe for a great price, he was called up for the 1994 World Cup with the champion team, filled with stars like Dunga, Bebeto and Romário. It made the toothy kid gain even more experience and baggage, which would certainly be used throughout his journey.
Altogether for Raposa, the young scorer played 58 games and scored 56 goals, an average of almost one goal per game played, an impressive mark for a 16/17 year old boy.
Arrival to the Old Continent
Ronaldo arrived in Holland on a high note. He was seen as one of the great promises of world football, and as usual, he exceeded expectations. The Dutch championship looked easy for the young goalscorer. Ronaldo took off and started to score goal after goal and ended the Dutch championship with 30, consecrating himself as the top scorer in the competition.
Even with all the individual prominence of the Brazilian, it was not possible for PSV to lift the cup, which was won by Ajax. At the time was one of the best teams in Europe, with players like Kluivert, Litmanen, Van der Sar, Davids, Seedorf and Rijkaard, a team that also won the Champions League in the same season.
Already in the 1995/1996 season Ronaldo ended up playing less, due to problems in both knees. At the beginning of 1996 he had his first surgery, scraping the cartilage of his right knee, which according to the doctors, the young promise should have a cautious recovery, which did not happen, because in less than 2 months Ronaldo was already playing again.
However, this time, after his surgery, the striker was constantly left on the bench, which made him unhappy with the situation, as he realized that he was still the main part of the Dutch team. This situation made it possible for Ronaldo to leave PSV. What would be his fate? Barcelona and Inter Milan competed strongly in the race to count on the star, but in mid-1996, it was Barça that did better and signed the Brazilian jewel for 20 million dollars.
Even without playing much in the 1995/1996 season, Ronaldo maintained a very high average of goals, in 21 games played, he scored 19 times, helping PSV to become champion of the Dutch Cup. So he ended his time at PSV with no less than 54 goals in 57 matches played.
At the age of 19, in mid-1996, the striker who had been driving the football world crazy arrives at Barcelona, a very traditional club in Spain. Thus, the spotlights became fixed on Ronaldo.
Ronaldo demonstrated in Barcelona everything he knew about football. He was the fastest, the most skillful, the most intelligent and the one who best knew how to score goals. The still young man looked like a veteran of so much intimacy he had with his faithful shield (ball). He seemed to put it where he wanted, it was inexplicable what the charismatic boy did with the Barcelona shirt. A goal that demonstrates very well all the qualities of the star was the one he scored against Compostela in the 5th round of La Liga.
Ronaldo steals the ball in midfield, and starts running. The player who lost the ball kicks his leg several times, tries to pull his shirt off but nothing happens to the star player, who continues towards the goal. He passes through another marker as if there was no one there. Getting close to the area, he makes a quick cut to the right, leaving another defender in the distance, already inside the area, he touches the ball from one foot to the other. When Goalkeeper Fernando comes out to cover, Ronaldo shoots and the ball faces the net.
There, the whole world became aware of who Ronaldo was, the skinny, bald and toothy young man made everyone who saw him playing fall in love with his gmae, which was a football full of refinement, dribbling and frills, but very concise, which he always sought and in end reached the goal.
Ronaldo’s season for Braça was magical, he brought, together with his teammates to the Blaugrana fans, the title of champion of the Copa del Rey and also of the European Cup. They almost won La Liga, which by only two points was with the arch-rival the Real Madrid.
This season Ronaldo impressed the world of football, and he was deservedly considered the best player in the world by Fifa in 1996, having been the youngest player in history to win that individual title, the star was only 20 years old. In the 1996/1997 season, the best player in the world played 37 games for Barça and scored 34 goals, maintaining his incredible average of almost one goal per game.
After an overwhelming season, Ronaldo tried to renew his contract with a salary increase, which was refused by the president of Barcelona at the time. Therefore, Inter Milan, which already had Ronaldinho as an old dream, wasted no time and paid the playmaker’s termination fine, which revolved around 36 million dollars. Ronaldo was sad about the situation and wanting to play more, the boy stayed with only 1 season in Barça and had to say goodbye to the Blaugrana fans.
Ronaldo celebrating goal against Compostela
Internazionale, from Glory to Sorrows
Ronaldo signed his contract with Internazionale in mid-1997, while he was playing in the Copa América for Amarelinha (Brazilian Nation Team), becoming champion.
Ronaldo was still in a great phase. He arrived at Inter as the best player in the world and maintained his performance. A curious fact is that he had to wear shirt number 10, as number 9 belonged to Iván Zamorano, a Chilean star. The Tupiniquim (Brazilian) top scorer started the 1997/1998 season flying, scored 14 goals in 19 games, and was again elected the best player in the world.
After a relentless start in Italy, and because of his masterful football, Ronaldo earned a nickname in the Italian press and came to be called the “phenomenon”, as he is known to this day. The 1997/1998 season was going very well for Ronaldo and Inter, who would most likely become champions of the Italian League, which had not been won for more than 7 years by the important Milan club. However, in a decisive and controversial game against Juventus, in which Ronaldo suffered a scandalous penalty and the referee did not pointed it, Inter let the League title slip away.
However, later came the title of champion of the Uefa Cup, which served to rebuild the spirit and morale of the Milanese team. The Brazilian star scored 34 goals in 47 appearances for Inter in the 1997/1998 season.
After the season, Ronaldo went with the Brazilian national team to compete in the 1998 World Cup in France. The expectation was high for the current champion, even more so now that he can count on the basis of the 1994 champion national team, added to great reinforcements like Ronaldo and Rivaldo. Brazil had a great World Cup, but ended up losing the final to host France by 3-0.
Ronaldo had been having a good World Cup, and scored 4 goals for Amarelinha, but his performance was dividing opinions. The media was always after him, everything was about the phenomenon, which caused some discomfort for the star player and for the national team.
Ronaldo still went through hard moments during this Cup. Hours before the final Ronaldo convulsed in front of his teammates. Even so, he managed to recover in time to play the final against France, which we know was not what was expected. Because of this episode, the star player was the target of several media speculations, which caused many discomforts for a long time.
Upon returning to Inter, the 1998/1999 season started differently. Ronaldo suffered from tendinitis in his knee, being sidelined for a few matches, until the worst happened in a match against Lecce. Ronaldo sprained his right knee, stretching his ligaments, so he would have to stay out of action for 5 months, returning to play only in 2000.
Right on his debut in a game valid for the Italian Cup against Lazio, Ronaldo entered the second half, and in his first move he tried to make a typical dash towards the goal, but his knee soon gave way. The image was very strong. It looked like his knee was going to be ejected. This time the Phenomenon had to have a longer recovery, in all it was 15 months away from the lawns.
His return was gradual, the re-debut was in the Uefa Cup against Brasov in Romania, but the 2001/2002 season was not good for the star, who continued to suffer from contractures and tendinitis in the knee, which made him the only an option that year on Inter’s substitute bench, and it was from there that the top scorer saw the Italian title slip away in the 2-4 defeat against Lazio in the last round, which enabled Juventus to win another title.
The star was then playing his last season for the Nerazzurri, in all, in almost 5 years at Internazionale, the striker scored 59 goals in 99 games, good numbers, but it was not what he and the fans expected. In addition to living with injuries, Ronaldo began to fall out with the Inter coach at the time, as well as with the board, which made it possible for him to leave in August 2002 for Real Madrid, for a trifle of 45 million euros.
2002 World Cup, the Comeback
The top scorer, even living with many injuries in the seasons prior to the 2002 World Cup, was coach Luiz Felipe Scolari’s favorite striker. Even though he didn’t participate much in the hard elimination round, maybe that’s why Amerelinha had so many difficulties to qualify for the World Cup, R9 prepared a lot for this moment, even with many doubts about his physical condition, the top scorer didn’t shake and started the tournament with everything he got.
Felipão’s team went to Korea and Japan, getting a lot of criticism from the fans and the media, mainly for not having called up the Baixinho Romário, and opting for Rivaldo and Ronaldo, who were players from the elite of football but who had been living with physical problems. But Felipão had a plan, the Gaúcho (when someone is born in Rio Grande do Sul State, Brazil) understood that the team should defend hard and have a quick transition, because he knew that up front he had great values that would put the ball in the end of the net.
Felipão decided to form the team in a 3-5-2, and had as its starting lineup Marcos, Lúcio, Edmilson and Roque Júnior, Cafu, Gilberto Silva, Juninho Paulista and Roberto Carlos, with Ronaldinho Gaúcho completing the middle 5 and Ronaldo up front with Rivaldo. It was a very well put together team, especially in its consistency and quick transition, which was possible because Felipão had the two best full-backs in the world playing as wingers, thus having more freedom to reach the last third and help the attack.
Brazil started the tournament in a difficult game against Turkey, which took the lead at the beginning of the second half with a goal by Sas. However, the team was not afraid and at 15 minutes of the second half, Ronaldo, after a beautiful cross by Rivaldo, stretched all the way to tie the game. That goal showed that Ronaldo was ready for whatever came and that his knee would not be a problem. At the end of the game, after Luizão’s dash, the striker suffers a penalty committed by Alpay. Rivaldo goes to the penalty spot and puts the ball in the left corner of the Turkish goalkeeper, Brazil wins the first game.
The first game was important to show that Brazil was not in Asia for a walk, but to be champion. In addition, they had to show that the two Tupiniquin stars, Ronaldo and Rivaldo, were in full physical condition to play everything they knew how in the tournament. The second game was against China. Brazil walked and won by 4×0, with goals from Roberto Carlos, Rivaldo, Ronaldinho Gaúcho and Ronaldo.
Already qualified, Felipão faced Costa Rica with a mixed team, but even so, Brazil did not take notice of the opponent, and won the game by 5 x 2, with two goals from Ronaldo, who already had 4 goals in 3 matches. The score for Brazil was completed by Edmilson with a beautiful bicycle kick goal, Rivaldo and Júnior.
With a great campaign in the group stage, Brazil began to regain the comfort and recognition of the media, but the most important thing was that the team itself continuing to believe that fith star was possible and that they would do everything to become champions. The round of 16 was against Belgium, Brazil played well, especially in the second half, winning the game once again with goals from Ronaldo (5 goals in 4 games) and Rivaldo. Even Rivaldo’s goal was one of the most beautiful of this Cup, after receiving a three-finger pass from Ronaldinho Gaúcho, he controls the ball with his chest at the entrance to the area, turns his body and releases a bomb.
In the quarterfinals, Brazil faced England with young stars Beckham and Owen. It was a tough national team with a lot of air force and a lot of speed in the final third of the pitch. England took the lead with a goal by Michael Owen in the 23rd minute of the first half, but at the very end of the first half, Ronaldinho Gaúcho found a sweet pass for Rivaldo to receive and put in the corner of goalkeeper Seaman.
The game went into the second half and just after 5 minutes Ronaldinho Gaúcho hits a masterful free kick. The boy shoots almost from midfield leaning on the right side line of the pitch. He shooted a cross ball ended up covering the goalkeeper, 2×1 for Brazil.
Brazil still suffered a little until the game ended and qualified for the semifinals, where they would meet the Turkish team again.
Ronaldo was prepared for the semifinals, and arrived at the game with a different look, shaving only the back part of his hair and thus inventing the famous “Cascão” cut, baptized in this way because it resembled the hair of Maurício de Souza’s character (Brazilian comic books). To this day, it is not known why R9 chose this cut, but there are stories that say it was to honor Brazilian children and others that Ronaldo chose this style to divert the focus of the press and opposing teams from a supposed micro muscle injury that had suffered before the semifinals, but one thing is certain, the cut chosen by the ace brought luck and became known worldwide.
The game against surprising Turkey was very complicated. The whole first half was back and forth, with several chances created by both teams, which naturally in the first stage had goalkeepers Marcos and Rustu Recber as highlights. But in the second half, Brazil started better and right at the beginning Ronaldo scored an epic goal. He receives the ball in the upper left corner of the area entrance, dominates it with mastery and quickly gives a beautiful pout kick in the cross corner of the goal, Brazil goes crazy, 1×0 for Amarelinha.
After the goal, the game continued very disputed, with both teams having chances to score. Brazil even missed several easy goals, but still managed to hold on to the result and heroically qualify for the final against Germany.
The day of the grand final arrived, and Ronaldo was very nervous about the situation, mainly because of what he had lived 4 years before in France, so the star says that that day after lunch he did not want to go to his room to rest, and that he convinced some of his teammates such as goalkeeper Marcos and defensive midfielder Vampeta joined him for a cup of coffee and chat for hours, which worked out well, as the Phenomenon arrived in one piece for the game.
The game started tense, very truncated. In the first half, both teams were unable to set the desired pace, but even so, Brazil stood out, mainly due to the performance of the young Kleberson, who managed to escape through the middle and arrived by surprise with great propriety. He even had the best move of the first half, a beautiful kick that exploded in the crossbar.
The second half started with Germany putting pressure on Brazil in the defense. At 5 minutes, São Marcos worked a miracle. After a beautiful and powerful free kick by Neuville, the ball touched Marcos and hit the post hard. The European team continued in the attacking field, trying to surprise with long-distance kicks, but none had as much effect as the free kick taken earlier. Brazil then starts to get into the game again.
At 20 minutes of the second half, Ronaldo loses the ball in the attacking field, but promptly recovers it, releases the ball to Rivaldo who kicks a left-handed bomb, the ball drips in front of Oliver Khan who ends up dropping the ball on his foot, from the predestined, deserving, of the top scorer Ronaldo, who only pushes into the goal, 1 x0 Brazil. After the Brazilian goal, Germany tried to keep attacking, but mostly with long range shots, they were unable to come close to extending the scoreboard.
In the 33rd minute of the second half, Cafu released the ball to Kleberson who was in midfield on the right. The boy is driving the ball along the edge and gaining space, when he gets close to the area, he cuts the ball in the middle and tries to pass it to Rivaldo, who reads the play in a unique way, making a beautiful cut of light. The ball then lands at the feet of our scorer, at the entrance to the area Ronaldo dominates with mastery and gives a beautiful slap in the left corner of Oliver Khan, who can do nothing, Brazil, five-time world champion.
Together with his teammates, Ronaldo shared the Cup of Life, perhaps the most celebrated in the entire world, against a team that left for Asia full of inquiries and questions from fans and the media, but which, like a big family, dribbled through all adversity together. and managed to become the only five-time champion team in the world. Ronaldo was the face of the Cup, with 8 goals, he just didn’t receive the best player award because that one stayed with Khan, since it was decided before the final.
Ronaldo once again showed the world his ability to score goals and be decisive, he knew his importance for his country, and even in the face of so many doubts and uncertainties, he did his best, he didn’t give up and was essential for winning the World Cup.
At the end of 2022 he was still deservedly considered the best player in the world.
The Phenomenon’s transaction from Inter to Real Madrid was not easy.
After his complicated knee injury, Ronaldo felt he lacked the support he needed from his club Inter. Thus, he asked Hector Cuper, coach of the Nerazzurri at the time, to support him emotionally and sportingly. However, such support did not come.
Combined with the lack of support, which made Ronaldo understand that his absolute return to the pitch was blocked by the coach, the player himself sought ways of understanding with the coach and the club’s board, which was not fruitful either.
Such attempts only strained the relationship between Ronaldo and Inter. The market, upon learning what was going on, began to survey the star.
Furthermore, Ronaldo was in a hurry, as the World Cup would soon start and he still hadn’t started a sequence of relevant matches. It was very important to have the confidence Felipão placed in the star, who did not hesitate and took him to the Cup, with results already known by all.
Anyway, the World Cup arrived and no agreement was made between the former president of Inter, Moratti, Ronaldo and coach Cuper, which would only have consequences after the end of the competition.
In September 2002, after months of negotiation and a magical World Cup, Ronaldo signed with Real Madrid for €45 million.
The team that had signed Zinedine Zidane the previous season, to join Roberto Carlos, Guti and many others, were the defending champions of the Champions League, beating Bayer Leverkusen in the final.
But Florentino Pérez didn’t want to spare efforts to assemble one of the most legendary teams in history. Soon, he called the top scorer phenomenon of the World Cup to compose his squad.
Ronnie’s debut, as he is affectionately called by his teammates, has been postponed for 36 days. The player felt a muscle injury, which sidelined him from the pitch. The malicious jokes were already circulating in many places, especially in Milan, where Inter fans were hurt by Ronaldo’s troubled departure.
However, jokes and speculation that the star would not play at a high level again fell to the ground just 1 minute and 2 touches on the ball after his entry. In a game against Deportivo Alavés, Ronaldo enters the field in the 64th minute and then in the 65th minute, the explosion. With a cross by one of his best friends and one of those responsible for his arrival at Real Madrid, Roberto Carlos, the World Cup top scorer touches it in his chest and hits a cross kick of rare happiness. The ball amazingly bounces on the ground and hits the goalkeeper’s angle.
Ronnie still scored once more in that victory over Alaves, which ended 5×1 for the Merengues.
There, the star joined others of his type, such as Zidane, Roberto Carlos, Beckham, Figo and many others. The football played was of the highest level, but unable to win the Champions League. The period in which Ronaldo stayed at Real Madrid, from 2002 to 2007, he was champion of the Club World Cup, the Super Cup of Spain and twice champion of La Liga. In addition to a rain of goals, 103 in 177 games, and the title of best player in the world in 2002, raising this award for the third and last time.
Time passed and Ronaldo was again living with constant injuries, in addition to suffering from frequent weight gain. Therefore, the player who had been bought by Florentino Pérez for 45 million euros was sold for 7.5 million euros to Milan in January 2007.
Milan: Ronnie returns to Milan
People can imagine why this was such a controversial transaction. The playmaker who had already traded one arch-rival for another, Barcelona for Real Madrid, did it again. This time, Ronaldo joined Milan in January 2007 to join the Brazilians who were already there like Kaká, Dida, Cafu, Émerson, Serginho and Alexandre Pato.
However, the passage of the Phenomenon by Milan does not leave much nostalgia. As said, the athlete suffered from weight gain and had difficulty keeping in shape. So, between 2007 and 2008, Ronaldo made just 20 appearances for the Rossoneri. Despite this, he maintained an enviable goal average for many forwards at their peak, scoring 9 goals, nearly one every two games.
Once again the ghost of injuries haunted Ronaldo. On February 13, 2008, in a game against Livorno in Serie A, one more. One of the worst of his career, now 31 years old. The ball is crossed from the right and Phenomenon waits for the cross in the area. He goes up to dispute it with the defenders, but his leg was not well supported, causing him to fall to the ground screaming from the excruciating pain he felt. Ronaldo had ruptured the patellar tendon.
It is here to reflect on the life of this man and everything he had gone through until then. It is natural for the player to be injured a few times in his career, but this was Ronaldo’s fourth knee injury.
It’s impossible to imagine what went through Ronaldo’s head when he felt the pain of the injury, while he was lying there waiting for care, but also imposible to imagine the pain of his soul. The questions asked by himself, by the media, by friends, by doctors that not even he himself could answer. Would Ronaldo Nazário be able to turn it around once again?
The return to Brazil, in the arms of a bunch of crazy people
After the injury, his contract with Milan ended in June 2008, leaving him without a club, as there was no intention of the Rossoneri to renew it.
Even without a club, the Phenomenon did not give up. His last appearance on the field would not be there, stretched out on the pitch with a look of pain and despair. But after all, what would be Ronaldo’s fate?
After undergoing surgery, he returned to training in September. His place of work was Clube de Regatas Flamengo, a team that Ronaldo had already mentioned as his heart as a boy. There, he trained with someone who understood these mishaps and worked closely with Ronaldo’s injuries, doctor José Luiz Runco.
The fact that Unbreakable trained at the club in Gávea began to raise expectations among the fans, who knew what Ronnie was capable of and wanted him there. But apparently, there was no formal proposal for him to reinforce Flamengo, generating total astonishment in fans and the media, when on December 9, 2008, shortly after the end of the Brazilian season, Ronaldo signed with Corinthians.
The phenomenon arrived in a festive mood and in the arms of Fiel (Corinthians fans). Few knew about the financial engineering done so that they could count on the national idol.
Timão already had Nike as a supplier of sporting goods, which paid around 2 million reais to the club per year. But one of the agreements signed is that Ronaldo would earn, in addition to monthly net income of 400,000 reais from Corinthians, also 9 million reais from this agreement with Nike. It is necessary to understand that at the time, before the advent of SAFs and other mechanisms, these values were considered astronomical.
All of this under suspicion of Ronaldo himself. The striker has not played since February 2008, would he be able to make the investment profitable economically and sportingly? When it comes to Ronaldo Nazário, what’s your guess?
Ronaldo still had to deal with questions from the media, which were very focused on being overweight. Ronnie, as usual, responded with irreverence and charisma, stating that if they measured the fat percentage of each person inside the press room, he would certainly be much better than those who were asking him. Then he said it was a joke and pledged to spare no efforts to keep himself in an athlete’s physique.
The star once again stepped onto the football pitch for an official game more than a year after the fateful day of his injury. He entered the second half in the game against Itumbiara, valid for the first phase of the Copa do Brasil. The match ended 2-0 for Corinthians and the top scorer did not score on that occasion, as the best was yet to come.
His first goal was 4 days later, in a game marked forever in history. Corinthians faced their arch-rivals, Palmeiras, in another derby for the Campeonato Paulista.
The game was in Presidente Prudente, a distant city in the countryside of São Paulo, located more than 560km from the capital. The game was 1-0 for Palmeiras, when coach Mano Menezes replaced the ledt back Escudero to make way for Phenomenon. With a few touches on the ball, Ronaldo risked a long distance shot that crossed the crossbar of the Alviverde goal.
But the star of the Phenomenon will always shine, when in the 92th minute, in a corner kick taken by Douglas on the second post, he appears to score with a header and tie one of the greatest classics in Brazil, 4 days after his return.
The celebration was emotional. While the legendary narrator Milton Leite announced: “Ladies and Gentleman, the Phenomenon has returned”, Ronaldo ran towards the fence, which he hung to celebrate with the Corinthians fans. Along with him, hundreds of fans climbed the fence, which did not resist and partially fell. This was the perfect event for the rivals’ jokes, who said that the fall from the fence was due to Ronnie’s weight.
Success at Corinthians did not stop there. Just a month later, Ronaldo played in his first final as a Timão player. An epic final played between the veteran Corinthians players against the golden generation of Santos.
There, a historic meeting took place. On one side, Ronaldo, World Cup champion and three-time Golden Ball winner, on the other, young Neymar, just 17 years old, playing his first final as a professional.
On this occasion, Neymar and the Santos team were not able to stop Ronaldo and company. The game was 2-1 for Corinthians, when in the middle of Vila Belmiro, Pelé’s home, he scored an anthological goal. He was launched at speed to dispute with Santos left back Triguinho, but with a fast cut, the Santos player was completely out of the game. Then he found himself face to face with Fábio Costa, the goalkeeper of Peixe, but still far from the goal. Ronaldo noticed that Fábio Costa was advanced, so he had no doubts and applied a chip worthy of genius.
Corinthians opened 3-1 and tied the return game 1-1, becoming champion.
This was not all. Ronaldo still won another title. He won the Copa do Brasil with Corinthians. The victim of the time was Internacional, which had great players like D’Alessandro, Taison and Nilmar.
In the previous edition of the tournament, in 2008, Corinthians also reached the final, but were surprised by Sport Club do Recife. Despite having won the first game in São Paulo by 3-1, they were surprised in the return game in Pernambuco and defeated by 2-0.
This time, Timão had Ronaldo. In the first game, Jorge Henrique scored in the 26th minute and just in the 53rd minute, in a controversial move, Ronaldo was launched at speed by Elias. The Phenomenon needed only two touches. One to give a dry cut in Índio, defender of Colorado. The other to hit hard with his left leg and beat goalkeeper Lauro.
The second leg, in Porto Alegre, was 2×2 and Corinthians was once again champion of the Copa do Brasil.
There, Ronaldo remained until 2011. Despite the achievements, Ronaldo ended his career with an embarrassment.
Corinthians played the Pre-Libertadores phase against modest Deportes Tolima, from Colombia. However, Ronaldo and Timão’s stars like Danilo and Paulinho had a poor performance. After tying the first game 0-0 at Pacaembu, Corinthians was defeated 2-0 by the Colombians.
With that, a major crisis was established in the club, which until then had experienced unimaginable pressure to win the Libertadores, a title that had already been won by its biggest rivals, Palmeiras, Santos and São Paulo.
Thus, Ronaldo said goodbye to the pitch with the defeat and elimination.
Even with the advent of his sad departure from the pitch, Ronaldo left a huge legacy to Clube do Povo. Ronaldo marks a turning point in the history of Corinthians, a real stepping up.
Ronaldo arrived at Corinthians shortly after the club moved up from Serie B of the Brasileirão and his face, his football, his brand, meant that Corinthians, owner of the second largest fan base in Brazil, began to receive revenue never obtained before, as well as extremely high recognition on the world stage, which made it possible to structure a strong team that was champion of the long-awaited Libertadores and 2012 Club World Cup.
From Lawns to Executive and Gamer Chairs
Ronaldo, throughout his career had a few establishments and always had an entrepreneurial streak. The star player already knew that football would not last forever.
In 1998, he created a night club in the Leblon neighborhood in the city of Rio de Janeiro, the late “Boate R9”. In 2002, after recovering from a serious knee injury and masterfully lifting the 2002 World Cup, he created the “Centro de Fisioterapia R9”, which exists until today, helping in the recovery of several amateur athletes and professionals.
While playing for Corinthians, in 2010, the star opened the marketing company “9ine”, which ran campaigns and managed the careers of athletes and artists.
Therefore, it is clear that with the advent of his departure from the pitch, Ronnie would not have a peaceful retirement, more than that, he would actually become a great businessman and investor.
In 2014 he took control of the Fort Lauderdale Strikers Club, which played in a kind of Major League Soccer series B in the United States. Ronaldo even managed the club well, but that was not enough for them to end their activities in 2016.
The experience of managing a football club awakened in Ronaldo passion and aptitude for the thing, so one of his companies, Tara which is based in Madrid, bought in 2018 more than half of the Spanish club Real Valladolid, becoming the main shareholder. Ronaldo then became CEO of the Club.
Ronaldo’s main objective at Valladolid is to make the club a fixture in La Liga, and since his arrival in 2018 he has managed to do this, with the exception of the relegation suffered in 2021, but the club in 2022 had a good campaign in La Liga 2 and gained access in 2nd place with the same 81 points as champion Almeria.
Valladolid is currently 14th in La Liga with 28 points, just 2 of the relegation zone.
Ronaldo and his entrepreneurial vein, now with more experience in management, in 2021 with the creation of the Sociedade Anônima do Futebol in Brazil, the SAF Law, saw an opportunity in the giant celestial club that revealed him, Cruzeiro.
At the time, Cruzeiro was going through a horrible moment, both financially and structurally, which reflected a lot on football, since after the fall in 2019 for the Brazilian Series B Championship, in the following two years it did not get access to Série A, portrait unusual for teams of Fox’s stature.
Therefore, part of Cruzeiro wanted to become a public limited company and, for this reason, Ronaldo was one of the potential investors. After signaling the Phenomenon at the end of 2021, there was a lot of discussion on the celestial club’s board. Part of the board and fans did not want the new model, another part was in favor.
Finally, to the relief of an institution that was on the edge of a precipice. The Club was transformed into a public limited company and Ronaldo bought the majority of the shares, thus becoming the controlling shareholder and majority shareholder.
The phenomenon started with the application of new models both in the structure and in football and above all in the financial aspect of the club. Ronaldo values a club that has minimum requirements for structural conditions and that spends according to the revenue that arrives in the vaults.
Such a management concept caused him to lose some good players, including the idol Fábio, but it was of great value as the results began to show. Today, after more or less 1 year of the Ronaldo-Cruzeiro merger, the club is back in Serie A of the Brasileirão, after being champion of Serie B in 2022, with a masterful campaign.
In addition to being a great manager, the ace is also a full-fledged streamer. In 2020, amid the Covid-19 pandemic, Ronaldo, feeling the need to get closer to his fans and friends, decided to create a channel on Twitch, where he started to make lives of games like Call of Duty, in addition to simply opening the camera to exchange a review with your subscribers.
R9 Lives last until today. Almost weekly, the top scorer talks and plays with his audience, including exposing important football issues in his streams, especially Brazilian football, which Ronaldo is a part of, as “president” of Cruzeiro.
A very important subject brought up in one of his lives, was him explaining to his subscribers what the new Project of the Brazilian Football League – LIBRA is, the consequences of its advent, obstacles to its creation, the division of values for the clubs, among other points.
Ronaldo, the Phenomenon, the R9, Ronnie, the toothy boy, the unshakable is a unique image of world football, which inspires people on and off the field. For many, the greatest 9 that ever existed, including by those who wrote this text, in the form of homage and propagation to the image of one of the greatest legends in Football.
Written by João Felipe Miller and Vitor F. L. Miller