Ronaldo started his career at Cruzeiro in Belo Horizonte before moving to the Dutch League with PSV Eindhoven as a 17 year old. There, despite not winning a league title, he scored a very impressive 66 goals in only 71 appearances before moving on to Barcelona under English manager Bobby Robson. That 1996-7 season at the Camp Nou made Ronaldo a star as he netted an amazing 34 goals in 37 games and though he did not win a league title with the Catalan side he did pick up the first of two World Player of the Year awards – making him the youngest ever recipient – along with the European Cup Winners Cup and the Spanish Cup. After only one season there, however, he moved to Serie A and to Inter Milan where he scored another 59 goals in only 68 games.
Now he made 97 appearances for the national side scoring 62 goals including a record 15 in the World Cup – overtaking the great Gerd Muller to do so. I was lucky to have seen him score 3 of those goals – first when he scored the only goal of the game in the 2002 World Cup semi-final 1-0 win over Turkey and then the two goals in the final against Germany, which won the trophy for Brazil but also sealed an amazing comeback for Ronaldo.
4 years earlier in the final in Paris he had suffered an attack before the game and though he played was not anywhere near full fitness. A year later, while playing for Inter, he suffered a serious knee injury that kept him out of the sport for 6 months and then when he returned he lasted only a few minutes on the pitch as he yet again badly damaged his knee. To come back from the drama of the 1998 World Cup final and then two serious knee injuries demonstrated not only his talent but also his courage and determination.
Madrid, Milan and Corinthians
After the 2002 World Cup win he moved on to Real Madrid in Spain and, despite lacking the same frightening speed when he had last played in Spain with Barca, he still managed to score an impressive 23 goals from 31 games in his first season there. He stayed for another 3 seasons – and won a couple of titles – before returning to Italy to play for AC Milan and then went home to Brazil to play for Corinthians. In total, Ronaldo scored over 350 goals in the 515 club appearances throughout his career, winning two World Cup titles, two league championships, as well as a host of individual honours. It was the Italian press who nicknamed him Il Fenomeno as he was like nothing they had seen before. How good was Ronaldo? Pele is undoubtedly the best striker Brazil has ever produced and while many would promote the merits of Garrincha, Kaka and even Romario, I think that Ronaldo should be regarded as Pele’s number 2 – high praise indeed.
moving on to: Transferred; changed club
the Catalan side: Barcelona
recipient : The person who receives, the winner
sealed an amazing comeback : Completed his comeback
would promote the merits: Support
- BBC report on his retirement
- Ronaldo’s Home Page
- The Guardian’s report on Ronaldo’s retirement
- All his goals for Barcelona (part 1)
- And part 2
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