Ronaldo, the ultimate striker, turns 46

One of the best strikers in the history of football celebrates his birthday this Thursday. The opportunity to look back on the career of the Brazilian legend.

When discussing the striker position in football, it’s hard not to think of Ronaldo Luis Nazario de Lima, Ronaldo says. The Brazilian, who celebrates his 46th birthday this Thursdayth anniversary, imbued the green rectangle with his talent. Between revolution, influence and failures, a look back at Il Fenomeno’s career.

The origin of the legend

Ronaldo was born on September 22, 1976 in Bento Ribeiro, a neighborhood in Rio de Janeiro. At a very young age, he received a very precious gift: a football. This is the start of a love story. During his training, the Brazilian devoted himself to futsal, allowing him in particular to develop a rare technical quality and speed of execution. In 1993, he signed his first professional contract with Cruzeiro and scored 44 goals in 47 games. This performance caught the eye of national coach Carlos Alberto Parreira, who included a 17-year-old in the squad to play in the 1994 World Cup, in which Brazil would emerge victorious.

SEE ALSO – When Ronaldo scored a triple against Manchester United in the C1 semi-final in 2003

The beginnings in Europe

Summer 1994, he began his European epic. At not even 18 years old, Ronaldo planted 30 goals and delivered 15 assists in the league, not to mention a hat-trick for his first match in the European Cup against Leverkusen. In July 1996, Ronaldo flew to La Liga and FC Barcelona. Quickly, Europe and the whole world can see the extent of his talent. The striker offers an impressive diversity of play, capable of picking up very low to then eliminate at prodigious speed, of being on the edge of offside, of combining in small spaces… Ronaldo is complete. At the end of December, after only 6 months in Spain, he finished second in the Golden Ball one point behind Matthias Sammer (who nevertheless achieved the Bundesliga and Euro double that year). After a short spell with Barça, he won the Copa America in 1997 with Brazil, then joined Inter in a difficult championship. Hard ? From the first season, Ronaldo scored 25 goals in 32 games, won the Confederations Cup, and became the youngest Golden Ball in history. Just that.

Injuries at Inter

After the defeat in the World Cup final against France, Ronaldo quietly continued his career at Inter. But from the 1999 season, the Brazilian prodigy will face injuries that will hardly let go. In November, he suffered a ruptured patellar tendon. After five months off, he is making his comeback against Lazio. A handful of seconds after coming into play, the drama. His knee is still loose, and Ronaldo will be out of action for more than a year and a half. At the beginning of 2002, he played little, but found a little rhythm, especially in view of the World Cup in Korea and Japan.

The Galactic Age

This World Cup will probably be the most significant event of his. After what he went through, Ronaldo wins this trophy for the second time, determining the competition’s top scorer, including a brace in the final. He then signed up with Real Madrid. With his World Cup and a successful start to the season, Il Fenomeno won his second Ballon d’Or. Unfortunately for him, despite more than 100 goals scored in the jersey of the merengues in four almost full seasons, the club is struggling to win titles, despite teammates such as Figo, Zidane, Owen, Beckham and others.

An eternal legend

The rest of his career is dotted. Still facing a few injuries, associated with a deteriorating lifestyle, Ronaldo lost his influence in the game. He ended his European trip to AC Milan, without really shining (9 goals in 20 league games, over two seasons) . In 2009, the Brazilian returned home and joined Corinthias, a club with which he ended his career in 2011. Many football personalities testify to the impact Ronaldo had on the sport. He is credited with the goalscoring record for having dribbled past the goalkeeper (88), or even for having activated big names, such as Zlatan Ibrahimovic. Because yes, even Zlatan was impressed by his talent. Others, at the Nesta stage, have more painful memories. “I played against him in the UEFA Cup final in Paris in 1998, I have never seen a player play a football match so well. The other attackers, you can always figure out what they’re going to do. But he was unpredictable. declared the former Italian defender during an interview.

Now the owner of EC Cruzeiro in Brazil, Ronaldo had the good news to learn that his club will return to the top flight after a move to the second division.

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