Ronaldo – A Career in Photos

Posted on 23 Jul, 2010, by in Soccer

With Ronaldo retiring next year and him playing out his final soccer days with Corinthinas in Brazil, we thought it would be nice to go over the legendary strikers’ career, spanning the last 17 years, which were mostly brilliant and some injury riddled – the same injuries that in my opinion denied Ronaldo of becoming the greatest soccer player of all time.

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Ronaldo, born Ronaldo Luis Nazario de Lima in Rio de Janeiro on September 22, 1976, played from age 14-16 for Sao Cristovao’s youth team, a very unremarkable club except for the fact they don’t have an away kit – just one all-white outfit. There’s a FIFA, CBF and FFERJ rule that forces any club that faces Sao Cristovao to change their outfit if necessary. They are the only club in the world permitted of using only one outfit.

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Ronaldo began his pro career with Cruzeiro from Belo Horizonte in 1993. He played only one season with the club, scoring 12 goals in 14 matches, helping the side win its first Brazilian Cup. Piet de Visser, a famous Dutch scout, discovered the talent and PSV purchased him for six million dollars. Ronaldo was part of the 1994 World Cup winning Brazil squad, but didn’t participate in any matches.

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He began his European career while still 17. He never won the league title with PSV during his two season in Eindohven, but finished as Eredivise’s top scorer in 1994-1995 with 30 league goals in 33 matches. His second season was disrupted by a long injury, as Ronaldo played only 13 matches for the club, managing 12 goals.

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By 1996 Ronaldo was considered one of the best young talents in the game, and before his 20th birthday joined Barcelona, managed by Bobby Robson, for a fee of 20 million dollars. Ronaldo scored 54 goals in 57 matches for PSV in all competitions.

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Ronaldo was a sensation at Barcelona. He didn’t win the league title, but he amazed Spanish fans and the world with his amazing goals and dribbles, quickly establishing himself as arguably the best player in the world before the age of 21. He scored 34 league goals, winning the La Liga top scorers award and 47 goals in all competitions, helping Barcelona to win the Spanish Cup (Copa del Rey) and the European Cup Winners’ Cup. He also won the FIFA World Player of the Year in 1996, the youngest player to win the award. .  Contract negotiations failed with the club, and Ronaldo left to Inter Milan and the Serie A, than the best and toughest league in the world.

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Ronaldo’s first season at Inter was almost perfect, with Juventus winning the league title while Inter finished second. Ronaldo scored 25 league goals and 34 in all competitions, helping Inter to the 1998 UEFA Cup trophy. Ronaldo also won his second consecutive FIFA World Player of the year.

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That summer Ronaldo led Brazil to the World Cup Finals in France, making the finals after Ronaldo scored four goals along the way. The night before the final Ronald had a convulsive fit, but was still in the lineup for the match, some say due to his own request, while reports of Nike officials pressuring the Brazilian team to place the World’s best player in the biggest match. Ronaldo was terrible, stopped by Barthez each and every time, France went on to win 3-0.

Ronaldo’s career took a dive after that final. Ronaldo’s second season with Inter was less succesful, suffering from injuries, scoring 14 league goals in 19 matches.

On November 1999 things got worst, when Ronaldo ruptured a tendon in his knee. He missed about six months of soccer, and in the match he made his comeback he injured his knee again, causing him to miss the entire 2000-2001 season and more injuries kept him away from the pitch for most of 2001-2002.

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Still, Ronaldo was healthy in time for the 2002 World Cup, scoring eight goals, including two in the Final against Germany, leading Brazil to its fifth World Cup trophy, re-claiming his place among soccer’s elite and legends, once again showing how good he can be without the woes of his injuries.

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Backed by a fantastic World Cup, Ronaldo moved to Real Madrid for 39 million Euros. Despite only winning one league title and no Champions League trophy with the club, Ronaldo’s first three seasons at Madrid were phenomenal, scoring 68 league goals, winning the 2003-2004 La Liga top scorer award. In 2005-2006 Ronaldo was injured again and the next season fell out of favor with new manager Fabio Capello due to his injury tendency and weight issues. Ronaldo was a minor part in Real’s 2006-2007 championship, scoring only one league goal in seven matches before being shipped off to AC Milan on January 2007.

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In the summer of 2006 Ronaldo made history, becoming the top scorer in World Cup history after scoring three goals for Brazil in their disappointing campaign, ending in the quarter finals with a 1-0 loss to France. Still, Ronaldo managed a goal in the win over Ghana, reaching 15, four years later still the all-time best, despite Klose’s efforts.\

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Ronaldo’s first six months with AC Milan were pretty impressive, scoring seven goals in 14 matches. However, the 2007-2008 season was very disappointing, as injuries got the best of him again, managing only two goals in six league matches.

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Battling with his injuries and weight problems, it seemed Ronaldo’s chapter in the world of soccer was over. Ronaldo trained with Brazilian club Flamengo (from Rio, his city of birth), but shocked Brazil by deciding to sign with Corinthians instead. Ronaldo had a fantastic 2009 with the Sao Paulo club, scoring 23 goals in 38 matches, winning the Paulista and the Copa do Brazil.

All in all, Ronaldo has scored 415 goals in 606 matches for club and country.