He the best forward of his era and one of the best in the history of football. And many generally consider him the best player of all time. The opinion is controversial, but it also has the right to exist. In this article, we will take a detailed look at Ronaldo’s club career.
Ronaldo was born in Rio de Janeiro, the third child in a poor Brazilian family. However, poverty also has its criteria – the family of Nelio and Sonia Nazario never lived in the favelas. I also worked in a telephone company.
It was primarily thanks to him that Ronaldo became a football player since his mother did not encourage this hobby of his son, and his father, on the contrary, tried to support him in this.
At the age of 10, the boy began to study in a futsal club but then moved to a large field.
Ronaldo did not enter, and he broke into big football. Having signed his first professional contract in his first season, he scored 20 goals in 21 matches for Cruzeiro! And these are only official games, and in friendly matches, Ronaldo scored eight more goals.
“Phenomenon” — so the fans called him, and there was something for it. Excellent starting and distance speed, excellent technique, physical power, strong shots from both legs – there were no weak points in the forward’s game.
I always admired his passes, especially the way “Toothy” (another nickname of Ronaldo, associated with his appearance) could dramatically change directions at speed. Neither before nor after it, nothing like this was observed.
The Dutch ” PSV ” had a great experience of successfully acquiring Brazilian forwards because, before the arrival of Ronaldo, the club left Romario, who moved to Barcelona.
The “phenomenon” completely replaced the famous compatriot, already in the first season with 30 goals, becoming the top scorer of the Dutch championship, with the second-placed Patrick Kluivert trailing by 12 goals. Ronaldo started the 1995–1996 season with the same impact, scoring 19 goals in 21 official matches. But then a knee injury followed, and in February 1996, the striker underwent surgery, after which the season was virtually over for him.
Despite his health problems, Ronaldo moves to Barcelona, which paid PSV $ 20 million. In Catalonia, the Brazilian spent only a season, but this season was one of the best in the career of a football player.
In the Spanish league, Ronaldo scored 34 goals, becoming his top scorer, and his accurate shot from the 11-meter mark in the final of the Cup Winners ’ Cup brought Barcelona this trophy.
And at the end of 1997, Ronaldo, being already a player of Inter, received his first “Golden Ball”.
Ronaldo could have been at Inter much earlier – back in early 1995, and the club signed a contract with PSV and the priority right to buy out the player. However, a year earlier, Massimo Moratti did not interrupt the price of “Barcelona”, considering it too high.
Indeed, a miser pays twice. Moratti gave Barca $ 25 million, which at that time was a football transfer record.
By and large, Ronaldo spent only one entire season at Inter, his first at this club. Then he scored 34 goals in all competitions, and “Nerazzurri” became the second in the championship and took the UEFA Cup.
But in the 1998–1999 season, the team began to feel feverish – during the season, Interchanged four coaches and took 9th place in the championship. And Ronaldo himself began to worry about his knee again. He missed many matches and was far from optimal shape. As a result, another knee operation and a long recovery followed.
Ronaldo entered the field on April 12 2000, in the first final match of the Italian Cup against Lazio, but after 20 minutes left the area on a stretcher. The photo of Ronaldo holding his knee with his face twisted in pain then went around the whole world and left few people indifferent.
Real Madrid 2002–2007
After the triumph of the Brazilians on the fields of Japan and South Korea, Ronaldo moves to Real Madrid, where the concept of “galacticos” by Florentino Perez was in full swing – Luis Figo and Zinedine Zidane already played in the team.
In Madrid, Ronaldo finally becomes the champion, which he did not manage to do in previous clubs. In the goalscoring race, he is second only to Roy McKie from Deportivo. His goals that season included a goal scored at El Classico against his former team and a hat-trick at Old Trafford in the second leg of the Champions League quarter-final. “Real” then lost 3:4, but thanks to the result of the first match (3:1) passed on.
In the following seasons, Ronaldo continued to delight the Madrid fans with his goals (in the 2003–2004 season, he became the top scorer of the championship) and his game. But the club was left without titles time after time. It was not Ronaldo’s fault. It was just that the Galacticos model did not justify itself – in the Real Madrid attack, there was an apparent overkill of the highest-level performers, with a relatively average selection of defensive performers.
This team could break anyone in a single match but at the same time lost a lot of” their ” points. As a result, the club’s president changes, and Fabio Capello comes to the coaching bridge – a well-known fan of tough tactical schemes, in which the” Phenomenon ” did not find a place. Ronaldo still received his second medal of the champion of Spain, but to call his contribution to its conquest, not something that would be decisive but simply significant, will not work.
AC Milan 2007–2008
Ronaldo moved to Milan in January 2007 and spent the second half of the season quite productively, having managed to score seven goals before the end of the championship, including against Inter, his former club.
Before starting the following season, Carlo Ancelotti expected the Brazilian to become the central forward of his team. However, at first, Ronaldo’s season was plagued by minor injuries. When it seemed that he had solved all his problems, it happened again.
On February 13, 2008, Ronaldo came on as a substitute in a match against Livorno, and 3 minutes after the collision with the defenders, he lay on the field, clutching his knee. The diagnosis‑a of torn ligament of the left knee sounded like a verdict because “Zubastik” was already 31 years old.
In July 2008, his contract with AC Milan expired, and Ronaldo became a free agent while considering retirement.
And in December 2008, the football world sighed with joy – Ronaldo announced his return to big-time football. However, he signed a contract with another Brazilian club – Corinthians. A scandal broke out – the bosses of “Flamengo” said that they were disappointed with the decision of the player, he explained this by the fact that during four months of training at the club “Flamengo” did not offer him a contract.
But Ronaldo’s fans, of whom there are many worldwide, did not care much; most importantly, the “Phenomenon” was back on the field. Even if it was a different Ronaldo-plump, slow, trying once again not to go into the joints, the genius remained a genius – in two seasons in 65 matches for the club, Ronaldo scored 35 goals and finally won the titles of his homeland-the Sao Paulo state championship and the Brazilian Cup.
By the way, here the” Phenomenon ” was haunted by injuries – on July 26, 2009, in a match of the Brazilian championship, Ronaldo broke his arm, unsuccessfully landing on it during a fall.
And on February 14, 2011, at a specially assembled press conference, Ronaldo announced his retirement from football.
Looking back at Ronaldo’s career, it is unfortunate that he missed too much due to injuries. But when he was healthy, Ronaldo was the best in the world. After all, he is a phenomenon without any quotation marks.