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Ronaldo

( Athlete, football)

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Ronaldo Luís Nazário de Lima (Portuguese pronunciation: [χoˈnawdu luˈiz naˈzaɾiu dʒi ˈlimɐ]; born 18 September 1976), commonly known as Ronaldo, is a retired Brazilian footballer who last played for Corinthians. Ronaldo was one of the most prolific scorers in the world in the late 1990s and the early 2000s. He won his first Ballon d'Or as the European Footballer of the Year in 1997 (aged only 21) and again won the award in 2002 (26 years old). Additionally, he is one of only two men to have won the FIFA Player of the Year award three times, along with French footballer Zinedine Zidane.

In 2007, he was named as one of the best starting eleven of all-time by France Football and was named to the FIFA 100, a list of the greatest footballers compiled by fellow countryman Pelé. In 2010, he was voted Goal.com's "Player of the Decade" in an online poll, gathering 43.63 percent of all votes and was also included as centre forward in the "Team of the Decade." On 23 February 2010, Ronaldo announced that he will retire after the 2011 season, signing a two-year contract extension with the Corinthians at the same time. He is widely considered by experts and fans as one of the greatest players of all time.

Ronaldo has played for Brazil in 97 international matches, amassing 62 goals. He was a part of the Brazilian squad that won the 1994 and 2002 World Cups. During the 2006 FIFA World Cup, Ronaldo became the highest goalscorer in the history of the World Cup with his fifteenth goal, surpassing Gerd Müller's previous record of 14.

In 1993, Ronaldo began his football career playing for Cruzeiro which was already going on to become a successful club. In his first and only year with Cruzeiro, he amassed 12 goals in 14 appearances and led them to their first Copa do Brasil championship. Prior to this, he was turned down by his boyhood favourite team Flamengo, but Brazilian World Cup legend Jairzinho saw Ronaldo's potential and helped get him the move to Cruzeiro.

1994-1996: PSV Eindhoven

Ronaldo chose to join PSV after the 1994 World Cup, for he was selected despite being just 17, but did not play. It was Romário who advised Ronaldo to start his European career at PSV; Romário being a former striker of the team from 1988-1993. Ronaldo scored 30 league goals in his first season in Holland. His second season was marred by a knee injury which kept him out of most of the campaign, but he still averaged nearly a goal a game in the league, with 12 in his 13 appearances. With PSV, Ronaldo won the Dutch Cup in 1996 and he was Eredivisie top scorer in 1995.

1996-1997: Barcelona

During his spell at PSV, Ronaldo attracted the attention of notably Inter Milan and FC Barcelona. It was Barcelona that was willing to pay the then record fee of $17 million. During the 1996-97 season Ronaldo scored an incredible 47 goals in 49 games (in all competitions) for Barça, leading the Catalan side to UEFA Cup Winners' Cup triumph (where he capped the season with the winning goal in the cup final itself) and to Copa del Rey and Supercopa de España wins. He also won La Liga top scorer award in 1997 with 34 goals in 37 games. Until the 2008-09 season, Ronaldo remained the last player to score more than 30 goals in La Liga. At the age of 20, Ronaldo became the youngest player to win FIFA World Player of the Year in 1996. He also finished runner-up for the Ballon d'Or.

Ronaldo's time at Barça was brief, as there were problems with the renegotiation of Ronaldo's contract. Ronaldo's unhappiness became evident and at the end of the season, by paying the buy out clause fee in his contract, Inter Milan signed him the following year for a then world record fee of £19 million. Ronaldo duly helped them repeat his former side's cup-winning run, this time in the UEFA Cup, in which he scored their third goal in the final itself.

Ronaldo adapted to the Italian style of the game in his first season, finishing second on the league's scoring charts. Ronaldo started to develop into a complete forward. He began racking up assists, became first-choice penalty taker, taking and scoring freekicks, and captaining the team at the end of the season. During his time with Inter, he scored several goals against A.C. Milan in the Derby della Madonnina. He won FIFA World Player of the Year for the second time in 1997, and collected the Ballon d'Or the same year. The following year, after the FIFA World Cup, he finished second for FIFA player of the year, and third for European Footballer of the Year. At this point in his career, he was clearly and widely regarded as the best player in the world.

On 21 November 1999, during a Serie A match against Lecce, Ronaldo felt his knee buckle and was forced to limp off the pitch. Medical exams after the match confirmed that the striker had ruptured a tendon in his knee and would require surgery. During his first comeback on 12 April 2000, he played only seven minutes during the first leg of the Coppa Italia final against Lazio before injuring his knee for a second time. After two operations and months of rehabilitation, Ronaldo came back for the 2002 World Cup, helping Brazil win their fifth World Cup title. Later in 2002, he won the World Player of the Year award for the third time, and transferred from Inter to Real Madrid. Ronaldo was given his most recognizable nickname, Il Fenomeno, by the Italian press while playing there. He was named the 20th top footballer of all time for Inter, according to Times Online, and only his injuries prevented a higher ranking. He played 99 games and scored 59 goals for Nerazzurri.

Having signed for Real Madrid C.F. for ?39 million, his jersey sales broke all records on the first day, such was the obsession and hype surrounding him. He was sidelined through injury until October 2002 but the fans kept on chanting his name. Ronaldo scored twice in his debut for Real Madrid. He received a standing ovation at the Stadium Bernabéu. That same reception was observed on the night of the final game of the season against Athletic Bilbao, where Ronaldo scored again to seal his first season with 23 league goals and the La Liga Championship title for 2003, which Ronaldo had previously failed to win while with FC Barcelona. With Madrid, he also won an Intercontinental Cup in 2002 and Spanish Super Cup in 2003.

In the second leg of Real Madrid's Champions League quarter-final, Ronaldo scored a hat-trick against Manchester United at Old Trafford, knocking the English team out of the competition. Madrid was on track to win the treble until Ronaldo was injured towards the end of the 2003-04 season; they subsequently lost the Copa del Rey final, were knocked out of the Champions league quarter-finals, and suffered a league form breakdown. That season, he finished as the league's top scorer with 24 goals and was awarded the Pichichi Trophy, despite Madrid losing the league title to Valencia CF. With the acquisition of Ruud van Nistelrooy in 2006, Ronaldo grew more and more out of favour with the manager Fabio Capello due to injuries and weight issues.

2007-2008: AC Milan

On 18 January 2007, it was reported that Ronaldo agreed terms with A.C. Milan for a transfer of ?8.05 million. Ronaldo was forced to pay for the remaining period on his contract which tied him to Real Madrid, only because the latter did not agree to release him, while AC Milan were not ready to pay such a sum. On 25 January, Ronaldo flew from Madrid to AC Milan to watch AC Milan in a cup tie against Roma. Statements on the club's website said that Ronaldo was in AC Milan for a medical, and that a meeting had been arranged for Monday with Real Madrid officials to discuss and finalize his transfer to AC Milan. On 26 January, Ronaldo successfully completed his medical tests at the Milanello training complex under the supervision of club doctors, and the transfer completed on 30 January[11] and got the squad number 99. He made his debut as a substitute on 11 February 2007, during the 2-1 victory over Livorno. The next game at Siena, on 17 February, Ronaldo scored twice and assisted on a third goal in his first start for AC Milan, as they won an exciting game 4-3. In his first season, Ronaldo scored seven goals in 14 appearances.

After his move to AC Milan, Ronaldo joined the list of the few players to have played for both Inter Milan and AC Milan in the Milan Derby, and is one of two players to have scored for both sides in the derby game (for Inter in the 98/99 season and for AC Milan in the 06/07 season), the other player being Zlatan Ibrahimović. Ronaldo is also one of the few players to have started for Real Madrid and FC Barcelona, which also boasts a heated rivalry. Ronaldo, however, has never transferred directly between rival clubs. Ronaldo only played 300-plus minutes in his single season at AC Milan due to recurring injury problems and weight issues. Ronaldo's only goals in the 2007-08 season, besides his goal against Lecce in pre-season, came in a 5-2 victory against Napoli at the San Siro, where he scored an emotional brace. It was also the first time AC Milan's much hyped attacking trio of Kaká, Alexandre Pato and Ronaldo, known as Ka-Pa-Ro, played together. In total, he scored nine goals in 20 appearances for AC Milan.

Despite tremendous success over the past decade, Ronaldo has never won the UEFA Champions League in his club career. During the 2006-07 season, though A.C. Milan won the 2006-07 title, Ronaldo was cup-tied with Madrid and ineligible to take part. The closest that he has been was in 2003 when he helped Real Madrid to the semi-finals, in which they lost to Juventus.

On 13 February 2008, Ronaldo suffered a severe season-ending knee injury while jumping for a cross in AC Milan's 1-1 draw with Livorno, and was stretchered off and taken to a hospital. The club confirmed after the match that Ronaldo had ruptured the kneecap ligament in his left knee. It marked the third such occurrence of this injury, which he suffered twice to his right knee in 1998 and 2000. He was released by AC Milan at the end of the season, as his contract expired and was not renewed.

2009-2011: Corinthians

Ronaldo trained with Flamengo during his recovery from knee surgery, and the club's board of directors said that the doors were open for him to join. On 9 December, however, Ronaldo signed a one-year deal with Flamengo's league rival Corinthians. The announcement received high publicity in the Brazilian press about his favouring Corinthians over Flamengo, since Ronaldo publicly declared himself a Flamengo lover and had promised to defend the club.

Ronaldo played his first match for Corinthians on 4 March 2009, a Copa do Brasil match against Itumbiara at Estádio Juscelino Kubitschek, in which he came as a substitute for Jorge Henrique. Ronaldo scored his first goal for Corinthians on 8 March 2009 in a Campeonato Paulista match against Palmeiras. He helped Corinthians win the Campeonato Paulista with 10 goals in 14 games.

Ronaldo helped Corinthians defeat Internacional with an aggregate score of 4-2 to help the club win its third Brazil Cup (the second of his career), thus earning a spot in the Copa Libertadores 2010. He returned on 20 September in a match against Goiás. On 27 September 2009, he scored for Corinthians in the 1-1 draw against São Paulo FC. He finished the Brazilian Serie A 2009 with 12 goals in 20 matches. In February 2010, Ronaldo signed a contract extension with Corinthians that would keep him with the club until the end of 2011, and said he would then retire.

In February 2011, after Corinthians were eliminated from the 2011 Copa Libertadores, Ronaldo announced his retirement from football. In a press conference on 14 February 2011, he admitted his body had finally succumbed to the crippling litany of injuries that have blighted his career. "It's very hard to leave something that made me so happy. Mentally I wanted to continue but I have to acknowledge that I lost to my body," he stated.

In February 2011 it was announced that Ronaldo will be given one very last match for Brazil, five years after his last match with the national team, a friendly against Romania was held in São Paulo on 7 June 2011. Despite it being almost unheard of in international football for players to be given farewell matches for their national side, CBF officials have stated that given the extraordinary career of Ronaldo, it is only fitting that his last hurrah should take place in Brazil while representing his nation.[28] He played for 15 minutes in a match that ended with a Brazilian victory with a single goal from Fred at the 21st minute.

Honours

Cruzeiro
- Campeonato Mineiro: 1994
- Copa do Brasil: 1993
PSV
- KNVB Cup: 1996
- Johan Cruijff-schaal: 1996
Barcelona
- Copa del Rey: 1997
- UEFA Cup Winners' Cup: 1997
- Supercopa de España: 1996
Inter Milan
- UEFA Cup: 1998
Real Madrid
- La Liga: 2002-03, 2006-07
- Intercontinental Cup: 2002
- Supercopa de España: 2003
Corinthians
- Campeonato Paulista: 2009
- Copa do Brasil: 2009
National team
- FIFA World Cup: 1994, 2002
- Copa América: 1997, 1999
- FIFA Confederations Cup: 1997
Individual
- Supercopa Libertadores Top Scorer: 1993-94
- Campeonato Mineiro Top Scorer: 1993-94
- Campeonato Mineiro Team of The Year: 1994
- Eredivisie Top Scorer: 1994-95
- La Liga Top Scorer: 1996-97,2003-2004
- European Golden Boot: 1996-97
- Don Balón Award La Liga Foreign Player of the Year: 1996-97
- Copa América Final Most Valuable Player: 1997
- Copa América Most Valuable Player: 1997
- Confederations Cup All-Star Team: 1997
- Cup Winners Cup Final Most Valuable Player: 1997
- Cup Winners Cup Top Goal Scorer: 1996-1997
- IFFHS World's Top Goal Scorer of the Year: 1997
- UEFA Most Valuable Player: 1997-98
- Serie A Footballer of the Year: 1997-98
- Serie A Foreign Footballer of the Year: 1997-98
- UEFA Best Forward: 1997-98
- Bravo Award : 1995, 1997, 1998
- FIFA World Cup Golden Ball: 1998
- UEFA Cup Final Most Valuable Player: 1998
- Copa América Top Scorer: 1999
- Copa América All-Star Team: 1997, 1999
- FIFA World Player of the Year: 1996, 1997, 2002
- Ballon D'or: 1997, 2002
- World Soccer Magazine World Player of The Year: 1996,1997.2002
- Onze d'Or: 1997, 2002
- FIFA World Cup Silver Ball: 2002
- FIFA 100
- FIFA World Cup All-Star Team: 1998, 2002
- FIFA World Cup Final Most Valuable Player: 2002
- FIFA World Cup Top Scorer: 2002
- Intercontinental Cup Most Valuable Player: 2002
- UEFA Team of The Year: 2002
- Laureus Comeback of the Year: 2002
- Strogaldo De Legendary Award 2002
- BBC Sports Personality of the Year Overseas Personality: 2002
- La Liga South American Player of the Year: 1996-97, 2002-03
- Golden Foot award: 2006
- Brazilian National Hall of Fame: Class of 2006
- Serie A Player of the Decade: 1997-2007
- France Football Magazine: Starting eleven of all-time (2007)
- FIFA World Cup: All-Time Leading Scorer
- Campeonato Paulista: Best Player, 2009
- Goal.com: Player of a decade: Winner 2000-2010

During 1997, Ronaldo met the Brazilian model and actress Susana Werner on the set of Brazilian telenovela Malhação when they acted together in three episodes. Although never marrying, they began a long-term relationship and lived together in Milan until the beginning of 1999. In April 1999, Ronaldo married female Brazilian footballer Milene Domingues, at the time pregnant with the couple's first son, Ronald. The marriage lasted four years. The couple had a son, Ronald (born in Milan, on April 6, 2000). In 2005, Ronaldo became engaged to Brazilian model and MTV VJ Daniela Cicarelli, who became pregnant but suffered a miscarriage; the relationship lasted for only three months after their luxurious wedding at the Château de Chantilly. The ceremony reportedly cost ?700,000 (£896,000).

In April 2008, Ronaldo was involved in a scandal involving three transvestite prostitutes whom he met in a nightclub located in the city of Rio de Janeiro. Upon discovering that they were men, Ronaldo offered them $600 to leave. One of the three, however, André Luís Ribeiro Albertini (better known as Andréia Albertini), demanded $30,000 and exposed the case to the media. According to the local police chief, "[Ronaldo] was very excited and wanted to go out and have fun, without the press knowing. Ronaldo said that he is not mentally stable and is having psychological problems because of his recent surgery. But he committed no crime at all, it was immoral at best." Ronaldo's engagement to Maria Beatriz Antony was cancelled immediately after the prostitution scandal but resumed a little later. Maria Beatriz Antony gave birth to their first daughter, named Maria Sophia, in Rio de Janeiro, on 24 December 2008. In April 2009, the whole family moved to a new penthouse in São Paulo. On 6 April 2010, Maria Beatriz Antony gave birth to their second daughter. The girl, born in São Paulo, was named Maria Alice. Coincidently, Maria Alice was born exactly 10 years after her older brother Ronald. In December 2010, Ronaldo and his family moved to a new mansion in São Paulo. Also in December, Ronaldo performed a parental testing and confirmed to be the father of a boy named Alexander (born in April 2005). The boy was born after a brief relationship between Ronaldo and Michele Umezu, a Brazilian waitress whom Ronaldo first met in Tokyo, in 2002. After the confirmation of his fourth child, the striker declared that four is enough, causing him to "close the factory". So, on 26 December 2010, he revealed his recent vasectomy.

Since 2005, Ronaldo has been the co-owner of A1 Team Brazil, along with Brazilian motorsports legend Emerson Fittipaldi.

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