Some confuse the Brazilian soccer star, Ronaldo, with the younger Portuguese player, Cristiano Ronaldo. However, they are two completely different players, and Ronaldo has made a legend entirely of his own.
Ronaldo Luis Nazário de Lima was born on the 22nd of September, 1976, in Bento Ribeiro, Brazil.
He was named after Dr. Ronaldo Valente who attended his birth.
Growing up in a poor neighborhood, Rio de Janeiro, he learned to play soccer with his friends. They would play in the streets almost every day.
At the age of 14 he made it into the Social Ramos Youth Club team.
After performing well for a year, he was taken into Sao Cristovao, where he finally caught the attention of influential soccer figures, such as former World Cup winning Brazilian player, Jairzinho.
Jairzinho recommended him to the soccer club, Cruzeiro, where he played for a year, scoring 12 goals in 14 appearances.
In 1994, he was transferred to PSV Eindhoven for a fee of 6 million US dollars.
He then scored 42 goals in 46 league appearances!
Ronaldo also played in the 1994 world cup while only 17 years old and assisted Brazil in winning the tournament.
During this world cup, his jersey had the name Ronaldinho because there was already another Ronaldo playing for the team. However, this Ronaldo soon proved himself to be the better player and wore the Ronaldo jersey in the next World Cup (he was also joined by the now world famous Ronaldinho).
In 1995 he became Eredivisie top scorer and followed that by winning the Dutch Cup in 1996.
He quickly caught the eye of FC Barcelona manager Sir Bobby Robson.
Soon he was officially an FC Barcelona soccer player.
Ronaldo's one season with Barcelona turned into one of the best of his career.
He was then voted FIFA World Player of the Year in 1996.
His explosive style, incredible fitness, and amazing ball control caught the eye of the crowds.
He also scored 47 goals in 49 appearances that season.
As soon as the season was over, he was on his way to soccer club Internazionale Milano.
1997 was Ronaldo's first year with Inter. He quickly adapted to the Italian style of soccer and assisted the team in winning UEFA Cup. He even scored the third goal for the team in the final.
His goal scoring kept an excellent pace, and he soon earned the nickname, Fenômeno (The Phenomenon).
He was again voted World Player of the Year in 1997.
By the start of the next season, he was captain of the team. He had also finished with the best goal-per-game average in Serie A history, scoring 49 times in 68 appearances.
He continued to perform well for Inter until he ruptured a tendon in his knee on November 21, 1999 and was taken in for surgery.
He returned to the game on April 12, 2000, but was only playing for seven minutes before he re-injured his knee.
After a long recovery, Ronaldo returned to the game in time to assist Brazil in winning the 2002 World Cup (making this the fifth time Brazil won the cup).
Ronaldo was, once again, voted FIFA World Player of the Year in 2002.
He was soon transferred to the Spanish club, Real Madrid.
Upon joining Real Madrid, Ronaldo's goal scoring increased even more due to the lack of the incredible Italian defense to oppose him.
He managed to score 127 goals in 83 league games over the course of the time that he was with Real.
The Spanish fans welcomed the new addition to the team with great vigor. Sales of Real jerseys increased, and Ronaldo received multiple standing ovations in the first season.
However, this glory only lasted for a few seasons.
He soon began to party before and after games and gained a few pounds, which decreased his speed and stamina.
Due to his weight gain and previous injuries, he began to lose popularity with his fans and his manager.
Even with the criticism of the people, Ronaldo broke the world cup scoring record, previously held by Gerd Müller, by scoring 14 goals in the tournament.
In 2007 he went back to Milan, but this time to play for AC Milano, the arch-rivals of his previous Milan team.
Ronaldo readapted to the Italian style of defense well and began to pick his pace back up again.
He soon lost most of the excess weight that he had gained.
He also scored in the Milan Derby against Internationale, making him one of the few players to have played for both of the rivaling Milan teams in the Derby and the only player to have scored on both occasions.
Sadly enough, his career with Milan came crashing down when he blew his knee out once again in February of 2008 in a game against Livorno.
He was taken in for surgery. His contract with Milan expired during this time and was not renewed.
Ronaldo then started training with the Brazilian club, Flamengo, while his knee recovered.
He had previously declared himself a Flamengo lover, but when they offered him a place in the club, he decided to sign on with their rivals, the Corinthians.
So far Ronaldo has done well with the Corinthians. He finished the 2009 season with 12 goals in 20 league games.
His contract with the Corinthians lasts until the end of 2011, after which he says he is going to retire.
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