Template:ImportReview Template:Infobox Biography Ronaldo Luis Nazário de Lima (born 22 September 1976), commonly known as Ronaldo, was a Brazilian footballer who currently plays for Corinthians and was one of the most prolific scorers in the 1990s and in the early 21st century. Ronaldo won his first Ballon d'Or as the European Footballer of the Year in 1997 and again in 2002. He is also one of only two men to have won the FIFA Player of the Year award three times, along with French footballer Zinedine Zidane. In 2007, he was named as one of the best starting eleven of all-time by France Football and was named to the FIFA 100, a list of the greatest footballers compiled by fellow countryman Pelé. In 2010, he was voted Goal.com's 'Player of the Decade' by an online poll, gathering 43.63% of all votes and was also included as Centre Forward in the 'Team of the Decade'. On February 23th 2010, Ronaldo announced that he will retire after the 2011 season, signing a two-year contract extension with the Corinthians at the same time.
Ronaldo has played for Brazil in 97 international matches, amassing 62 goals. He was a part of Brazilian squad that won the 1994, and 2002 World Cups. During the 2006 World Cup, Ronaldo became the highest goalscorer in the history of the World Cup with his fifteenth goal, surpassing Gerd Müller's previous record of 14.
In 1988, Ronaldo began his football career playing for Cruzeiro which was already on to become a successful club. In his first and only year with Cruzeiro, he amassed 12 goals in 14 appearances and lead them to their first Copa do Brasil championship.
After he was scouted by famous Dutch scout Piet de Visser, he was soon transferred for US$6 million to PSV in 1994, where he scored 42 goals in 46 league games and reached a total of 54 goals in 57 official appearances. With PSV, Ronaldo won the Dutch Cup in 1996 and was Eredivisie top scorer in 1995.
Later, he attracted the attention of Barcelona through the interest of Sir Bobby Robson, the manager at the time. He played for Barça in the 1996-97 season, scoring an incredible 47 goals in 49 games (in all competitions) on the way to leading the Catalan side to UEFA Cup Winners' Cup triumph (where he capped the season with the winning goal in the cup final itself) and to Copa del Rey and Supercopa de España wins. He also won La Liga top scorer award in 1997 with 34 goals in 37 games. Until the 2008-09 season, Ronaldo remained the last player to score more than 30 goals in La Liga. At the age of twenty, Ronaldo became the youngest player to win FIFA World Player of the Year in 1996. He also finished runner-up for the Ballon d'Or.
Inter signed him the following year for a then world record fee, and Ronaldo duly helped them repeat his former side's cup-winning run, his time in the UEFA Cup, in which he scored their third goal in the final itself.
Ronaldo adapted to the Italian style of the game in his first season, finishing second on the league's scoring charts. Ronaldo started to develop into a complete forward. He began racking up assists, became first-choice penalty taker, taking and scoring freekicks, and captaining the team at the end of the season. During his time with Inter, he scored several goals against A.C. Milan. He won FIFA World Player of the Year for the second time in 1997, and collected the Ballon d'Or the same year. The following year, after the FIFA World Cup, he finished second for FIFA Player of the Year, and third for European Footballer of the Year.
On November 21, 1999, during a Serie A match against Lecce, Ronaldo felt his knee buckle and was forced to limp off the pitch. Medical exams after the match confirmed that the striker had ruptured a tendon in his knee and would require surgery. During his first comeback on April 12, 2000, he played only seven minutes during the first leg of the Coppa Italia final against Lazio before injuring his knee for a second time. After two operations and months of rehabilitation, Ronaldo came back for the 2002 World Cup, helping Brazil win their fifth World Cup title. Later in 2002 he won the World Player of the Year award for the third time, and transferred from Inter to Real Madrid. Ronaldo was given his most recognizable nickname II Fenomeno by the Italian press while playing there. He was named the 20th top footballer of all time of Inter according to Times Online and only his injuries prevented a higher ranking. He played 99 games and scored 59 goals for nerazzurri.
Having signed for Real Madrid for €39 million, his jersey sales broke all records on first day, such was the obsession and hype surrounding him. He was sidelined through injury until October 2002 but the fans kept on chanting his name. Ronaldo scored twice in his debut for Real Madrid. He received a standing ovation in the Santiago Bernabeu. That same reception was observed on the night of the final game of the season against Athletic Bilbao, where Ronaldo scored again to seal his first season with 23 league goals and the La Liga championship title for 2003, which Ronaldo had previously failed to win while with Barcelona. With Real he also won a Intercontinental Cup in 2002 and Spanish Super Cup in 2003. In the second leg of Real Madrid's Champions League quarter-final, Ronaldo scored a hat-trick against Manchester United to knock them out of the competition. Real was on track to win the treble until Ronaldo was injured towards the end of the 03/04 season, and they lost the Copa del Rey final, were knocked out of the Champions League semi-finals, and suffered a league form breakdown. This season he finished as the league's top scorer and was awarded the Pichichi despite Real losing the league title to Valencia. Real Madrid were knocked out of the first round of the last 16 in the Champions League by Arsenal, and went a third straight season without a trophy. During his time at Real Madrid, Ronaldo has scored against some of their biggest opponents including several against rivals Atletico Madrid and Barcelona. With the acquisition of Ruud Van Nistelrooy in 2006, Ronaldo grew more and more out of favor with the manager Fabio Capello due to injuries and weight issues.
On 18 January 2007, it was reported that Ronaldo agreed terms with Milan for a transfer of €7.5 million. Ronaldo was forced to pay for the remaining period on his contract which tied him to Real Madrid, only because the latter did not agree to release him, while Milan were not ready to pay such a sum. On Thursday, January 25 Ronaldo flew from Madrid to watch Milan in a cup tie against Roma. Statements on the club's website said that Ronaldo was in Milan for a medical, and that a meeting had been arranged for Monday with Real Madrid officials to discuss and finalize his transfer to Milan. On 26 January, Ronaldo successfully completed his medical tests as the Milanello training complex under the supervision of club doctors, and the transfer completed on January 30 and got the jersey number 99. He made his debut as a substitute for Milan on 11 February 2007, during the 2-1 victory over Livorno. The next game at Siena on 17 February 2007, Ronaldo scored twice and assisted on a third goal in his first start for Milan as they won an exciting game 4-3. In his first season at Milan, Ronaldo scored 7 goals in 14 appearances.
After his move to Milan, Ronaldo joined the list of the few players to have played for both Internazionale and Milan in the Milan Derby and is the only player to have scored to both sides in the derby game (for Inter in the 98/99 season and for Milan in the 06/07 season). Ronaldo is also one of the few players to have started for Real Madrid and Barcelona, which also boasts a heated rivalry. However, Ronaldo has never transferred directly between the teams in the derby. Ronaldo only played 300-plus minutes for Milan in his single season at Milan due to recurring injury problems and weight issues. Ronaldo's only goals in the 2007/2008 season, besides his goal against Lecce in pre-season, came in a 5-2 victory against Napoli at the San Siro, where he scored an emotional brace. It was also the first time Milan's much hyped attacking trio of Kaká, Alexandre Pato and Ronaldo, known as Ka-Pa-Ro played together. In total he scored 9 goals in 20 appearances for Milan.
Despite tremendous success over the past decade, Ronaldo has never won the UEFA Champions League in his club career. During the 2006-07 season, though Milan won the 2006-07 title, Ronaldo was cup-tied with Madrid and ineligible to take part. The closest that he has been was in 2003 when he helped Real Madrid to the semi-finals, in which they lost to Juventus.
On 13 February 2008, Ronaldo suffered a severe season-ending knee injury while jumping for a cross in Milan's 1-1 draw with Livorno, and was stretchered off and taken to a hospital. Milan confirmed after the match that Ronaldo had ruptured the kneecap ligament in his left knee. It marked the third such occurrence of this injury, which he suffered twice to his right knee in 1998 and 2000. He was released by Milan at the end of the season, as his contract expired and was not renewed.
Ronaldo trained with Flamengo during his recovery from knee surgery, and the club's board of directors said that the doors were open for him to join. However, on 9 December, Ronaldo signed a one-year deal with Flamengo's league rival Corinthians. The announcement received high publicity in the Brazilian press about his favouring Corinthians over Flamengo, since Ronaldo publicly declared himself a Flamengo lover and had promised to defend the club.
Ronaldo played his first match for Corinthians on 4 March 2009, a Copa do Brasil match against Itumbiara at Estádio Juscelino Kubitschek, in which he came as a substitute for Jorge Henrique. Ronaldo scored his first goal for Corinthians on March 8, 2009, in a Campeonato Paulista match against Palmeiras. He helped Corinthians win the Campeonato Paulista with 10 goals in 14 games.
Ronaldo helping Corinthians defeat international with an aggregate score of 4-2 to help the club win its third Brazil Cup (the second of his career), thus earning a spot in the Copa Libertadores 2010. He returned on September 20 in a match against Goias. On 27 September 2009, he scored for Corinthians in the 1-1 draw against São Paulo.
He finished the Brazilian Serie A 2009 with 12 goals in 20 matches.
In February 2010, Ronaldo signed a contract extension with Corinthians that would keep him with the club until the end of 2011 and said he would then retire.
Ronaldo made his international debut for Brazil in 1994, in a friendly match in Recife against Argentina. He went to the 1994 FIFA World Cup in the USA as a 17-year-old but did not play. He came to be known as Ronaldinho ("little Ronaldo" in Portuguese), because Ronaldo Rodrigues de Jesus, his older team-mate on the tournament, was also called Ronaldo and also nicknamed Ronaldão ("big Ronaldo") to further distinguish them. Another Brazilian player, Ronaldo de Assis Moreira, who is widely known as Ronaldinho, would come to be called Ronaldinho Gaúcho when he joined the Brazilian main national team in 1999.
In the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta, Ronaldo played with the name Ronaldinho on his shirt, since centre back Ronaldo Guiaro, two years his senior, was one of his teammates. Brazil went on to win the bronze medal in Atlanta.
Voted the FIFA World Player of the Year in 1996 and 1997, he scored four goals and made three assists during the 1998 FIFA World Cup. The night before the final, he suffered a convulsive fit. At first Ronaldo was removed from the starting lineup 72 minutes before the match, but he requested to play and was later reinstated by coach Mario Zagallo. Ronaldo did not perform well and he was injured in a collision with French goalkeeper Fabien Barthez. Brazil lost the final to hosts France national team|France 3-0. Adrian Williams, professor of clinical neurology at Birmingham University, said that Ronaldo should not have played, saying that he would have been feeling the after effects of the seizure and that "there is no way that he would have been able to perform to the best of his ability within 24 hours of his first fit - if it was his first fit".
During the 2002 FIFA World Cup Ronaldo again led the national team to their record fifth championship and won the Golden Shoe as top scorer with eight goals and was runner-up to the Golden Ball as most valuable player in the tournament. He also scored against every opponent in the tournament except in the quarter-finals against England. In the final match against Germany, Ronaldo scored his 11th and 12th goals to a round of applause and tied Pelé's Brazilian record of 12 career World Cup goals.
On 2 June 2004, Ronaldo scored an unusual hat-trick of penalties for Brazil against archrivals Argentina in a CONMEBOL qualifier for the 2006 World Cup.
In the 2006 World Cup, although Brazil won their first two group games against Croatia and Australia, respectively, Ronaldo was repeatedly jeered for being overweight and slow (Brazil President Lula questioned the national coach asking if, "Ronaldo is fat or isn't he"?). Nonetheless, coach Carlos Alberto Parreira kept him in the starting lineup in face of calls to have Ronaldo replaced. With his two goals against Japan in the 2006 FIFA World Cup, he became the 20th player ever to score in three different FIFA World Cups. (Ronaldo scored at France 98, Korea/Japan 2002 and at Germany 2006). On June 27, 2006, he broke the all-time World Cup Finals scoring record of 14, held by Gerd Müller after scoring his 15th World Cup goal against Ghana in the 2006 FIFA World Cup Round of 16. He also equaled a much less talked about mark: with his third goal of the 2006 World Cup, Ronaldo became only the second player ever