Probably one of the most resounding names in today's soccer, Ronaldo put his mark on the last decade, becoming not only a prolific striker for his various club teams and national side, but also a famous "product face". This biography will take you through El Fenomeno's life and career, from his poor childhood to his super stardom.
– Youth Career
Born in a poor neighborhood of Rio de Janeiro in Brazil, he started playing soccer on the streets, with the rest of his neighborhood friends. At age 14, he decided it's time for a little organization in his life as a soccer player, so he went on to train with the Social Ramos Youth Club for one year. His next youth team, Sao Cristovao is where Ronaldo made a name for himself, being spotted by Brazilian World Cup winner Jairzinho as a future talent.
Jairzinho, who played for Cruzeiro Esporte Clube, recommended the young Ronaldo to the club and they signed him when he was 18 years old. His first and only season as a professional soccer player in Brazil was extremely successful, as he scored 12 goals in 13 games, quickly attracting the eyes of Europe.
Ronaldo Biography –
The first club to spot Ronaldo and make Cruzeiro an offer was Dutch PSV Eindhoven. Admittedly, not one of the mammoths of Europe in terms of soccer, but nevertheless a powerful club where a young player like Ronaldo could hone his skills and get some experience in Europe.
His 2 seasons at PSV were extremely successful, scoring 42 goals in 46 matches at just 21 years of age. His performances could not remain unnoticed and FC Barcelona moved in with a heavy offer to take the Brazilian on.
Ronaldo Biography – FC Barcelona and Internazionale Milano
His only season with Barcelona would be one of the best of his career, scoring 47 goals in 49 matches in all competitions for Barca and helping the Catalan club win the UEFA Cup Winners Cup (He actually scored the winning goal in the final) and the Spanish Cup. This great season confirmed him as an outstanding player and a goal scoring machine and Internazionale Milano moved in to take the Brazilian to Italy.
During the 5 seasons in Milan's shirt, he managed to score 50 times, but his efficiency was a lot lower than for PSV or FC Barcelona, due to several problems. First of all, the tough defensive air of the Italian Serie A reduced his ability to use his lethal dribbles as often as he could at FC Barcelona or PSV.
His personal issues with his girlfriends and wife, as well as a string of injuries also kept him from being as prolific as before. Nevertheless, he was loved at Inter and he helped the Italian club win the UEFA Cup in 1998, which is actually his only trophy with the club. In 1997 however, he became the European Footballer of the Year, European Golden Boot and after the UEFA Cup success, he was named UEFA's MVP that season.
Still, in 2002 after no league titles with Inter, it was time to move on and Real Madrid took him on to form the so called "Galacticos" team of super stars.
– Real Madrid
For Ronaldo, Real Madrid was angel and devil alike. Used to the Spanish league and escaping the Italian one's defensive toughness, he regained his scoring pace and in his 5 seasons with Real, he scored no less than 127 goals in 83 league games.
He helped Real Madrid win the league twice, in 2002-2003 and 2006-2007, as well as the European Super Cup and Intercontinental Cup in 2002. Although he played well for Madrid, his past with FC Barcelona, his numerous injuries and news of him partying before and after matches, created a gap between the Brazilian striker and his fans.
He also gained a few pounds, which decreased his stamina, speed and agility attracting the anger of Real's supporters, after a poor 2005-2006 season. Not finding his pace at Real Madrid anymore, he decided to move back to Milan, but this time for Inter's arch-rivals, AC Milano.
– AC Milano
Ronaldo plays for Milano since the winter of 2007 and although he only had half a season to settle back in Serie A, he did it with ease. He started scoring again and helping AC Milan win important points and he even managed to score against his former team, Inter, in the Milanese super-derby.
Although he could not participate in Milan's Champions League Win in 2007, he showed signs of improving his game and he also lost most of the extra pounds that made Real Madrid fans criticize him.
In the international field Ronaldo always was a vital member of the Brazilian team. He made history on June 27th 2006 during the World Cup games as he broke the all-time World Cup scoring record of 14 that was held by Gerd Muller (Germany) after scoring his 15th goal against Ghana.