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Ronaldo Nazario: The story of a spectacular Brazilian footballer

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Ronaldo Nazario
Ronaldo Nazario: The story of a spectacular Brazilian footballer. Photo/ Mediotiempo.
  • Ronaldo Nazario is a former footballer widely regarded as one of the best players in history
  • The Brazilian legend won several individual awards, including two Ballon d’Or awards and three FIFA World Player of the Year
  • The injuries R9 suffered at Inter Milan robbed the football world one of the best young players in football

In the late 1990s and the early 2000s, the term “The original Ronaldo” was used to refer to Ronaldo Nazario de Lima. The term was a tool of praise for the Brazilian footballer who is also known to many as Ronaldo number 9.

Ronaldo Nazario is a former professional footballer who is widely regarded as one of the greatest players in the history of the game. Ronaldo played as a striker and brought a new dimension to the position. He is considered to be one of the most skilful dribblers and one of the most complete forwards of all time.

Ronaldo Nazario

Ronaldo Nazario. Photo/ Mediotiempo.

The multi-functional striker has had an influence on the generation of strikers like Luis Suarez, Robert Lewandowski and Karim Benzema. Nicknamed El Fenomeno, Ronaldo is highly regarded for his technical ability, skills and dribbling.

Ronaldo number 9 easily beat several opposition players in one-on-one situations when in his prime. By the age of 23, he had already scored more than 200 goals for club and country.

There is a common saying that even before Cristiano, there were two Ronaldos: the one that returned after long-term injury in 2002 was a great goalscorer, but the 1990s version was a great everything. The injuries R9 suffered at Inter Milan robbed the football world one of the greatest young players in history.

Nevertheless, he achieved great success before ending his football career. Some of his achievements include winning the FIFA World Cup twice, La Liga, UEFA Cup and UEFA Cup Winners’ Cup, among other trophies.

The Brazilian legend won several individual awards, including two Ballon d’Or awards and three FIFA World Player of the Year. He is a member of the Inter Milan Hall of Fame, Brazilian Football Museum Hall of Fame, Real Madrid Hall of Fame and Italian Football Hall of Fame.

Early Life 

Ronaldo Nazario was born on September 18, 1976, in Rio de Janeiro. His parents, Nelio Nazario de Lima Snr. and Sonia dos Santos Brata, separated when he was 11 years old. He would soon drop out of school to focus on playing football.

Ronaldo number 9 began his football journey playing on the streets of Bento Ribeiro. He would later join Social Ramos, a futsal team in Rio de Janeiro, at the age of 12. In one of the youth league games, he scored 11 of his team’s 12 goals.

At the end of his first season, Ronaldo Nazario had scored 166 goals, finishing as the top scorer of the youth league. His goalscoring prowess impressed Brazilian football legend Jairzinho, who invited him to play for his team – Sao Cristovao.

The future World Cup winner developed quickly at the academy and was already playing for Sao Cristovao’s under-17 and under-20 when he was only 15.

Which Teams Did Ronaldo Nazario Play For? 

Young Ronaldo Nazario attracted the attention of big clubs in South America due to his talent. He began his career at Cruzeiro and caught the attention of the football world when he scored five goals in a match on November 7, 1993.

During his time with Cruzeiro, Ronaldo number 9 scored 44 goals in 47 games. He helped the team win their first Copo do Brasil in 1993 and the Minas Gerais State Championship the following year.

Ronaldo joined PSV Eindhoven after the 1994 World Cup and scored 30 league goals in his first season. He spent two seasons at the club, scoring 54 goals in 58 games.

The Brazilian joined FC Barcelona in July 1996, for a then world record transfer fee of $19.5 million. Ronaldo signed an eight-year contract, and in his first season, he scored 47 goals in 49 games. Majority of those goals were brilliant and a joy to watch as they involved rounding the goalkeeper.

There was a problem in the renewal of his contract at FC Barcelona and so he joined Inter Milan after just one season with the La Liga side. It was at Inter Milan where he won his first Ballon d’Or award and suffered career-threatening injuries.

Ronaldo Nazario

Ronaldo Nazario suffered a career-threatening injury at Inter Milan. Photo/ FourFourTwo.

Ronaldo number 9 won his second Ballon d’Or while playing for Real Madrid. He later played for AC Milan and Corinthians before announcing his retirement from professional football in February 2011, due to pain and hypothyroidism.

Abraham Odhiambo is an avid sports fan who loves to write about football, boxing and wrestling. He's a big supporter of Manchester United. He's pursuing a bachelor's degree in Communication and Media at Egerton University.

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