Ronaldo Luís Nazário de Lima (born Sept 18, 1976) is a retired Brazilian footballer who played football between 1993 to 2011. A prolific goalscorer with incredible playmaking and dribbling abilities, Ronaldo is regarded as one of the best footballers in the history of the sport. The star is not the best player to have come from the country, but he certainly made his mark as one of the best the country has ever produced. In this article on Ronaldo Nazario biography, childhood, career, personal life and facts, we review the life of the football sensation from his early life to date.
Ronaldo’s incredible style of play and football skills inspired present-day footballers who currently play in professional football leagues across Europe — a classic example is Manchester City forward, Gabriel Jesus, who began taking football seriously after watching Ronaldo perform wonders at the 2002 World Cup.
Ronaldo Nazario’s Biography Quick Facts, Age
Below are some biography quick facts that you should know about the Brazilian retired football legend.
- Full Name: Ronaldo Luís Nazário de Lima
- Nicknames: Fenômeno, The Proper One
- Date of Birth: September 18, 1976
- Age: 44 years old
- Place of Birth: Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
- Nationality: Brazilian
- Zodiac sign: Virgo
- Height: 6 ft 0 in (1.83 m)
- Weight: 82 kg
- Father: Nélio Nazário de Lima, Snr
- Mother: Sônia dos Santos Barata
- Brother: Nélio Nazário de Lima Jr.
- Sister: Ione Lima
- Sons: Ronald Nazário de Lima, Alexander Nazário de Lima
- Daughters: Maria Sophia Nazário de Lima, Maria Alice Nazário de Lima
Ronaldo Nazario’s Early Life & Childhood
Ronaldo Luís Nazário de Lima is the third of three children born on September 18, 1976, to the couple, Nazario de Lima and Sonia dos Santos Barata. Ronaldo’s parents were poor, but despite that, he excelled in academics. His progress in academics continued, until the age of 11 when his parents separated. His parents’ separation weighed heavily on him as he dropped out of school. As soon as he dropped out of school, he began going out more often to the street.
It was then he began playing football more often and his hidden talent came to the fore. At the age of 12, he joined a futsal team. Futsal was important in developing his skills. In the futsal league he joined, Ronaldo led the league in the first season with 166 goals. His impressive skills caught the attention of retired Brazilian footballer, Jairzinho, who was the coach of São Cristóvão youth team. He thus recruited Ronaldo in his team. After Ronaldo performed outstandingly for São Cristóvão he was recommended to Cruzeiro by Jairzinho.
Ronaldo Nazario Senior Career, Accomplishments & Awards
Ronaldo greatly admired Flamengo, a team he had dreamt to play for. He was then invited for a tryout by the club but missed the scheduled tryout due to his inability to afford the transport fare. His coach, Jairzinho then linked him to Cruzeiro. Ronaldo debuted for Cruzeiro at the age of 16 and helped the club claim the 1993 Copa do Brasil and 1994 Minas Gerais State Championship.
Following the 1994 World Cup, former Brazilian footballer turned Politician, Romário advised Ronaldo to move to PSV. In his first season at PSV, he recorded 30 goals and attracted media attention due to his performance. Ronaldo was just 18 years old then. In his second season at PSV, he ranked as the Eredivisie highest goal scorer and also helped PSV win the Dutch Cup. As a result of his top form, Ronaldo was subject to interest from Barcelona and Inter Milan
In the bidding war that ensued, Barcelona proved to be the stronger party as they paid $19.5 million for Ronaldo. Ronaldo proved to be a world-class player as he led the Barcelona to several victories. In the 1996/97 season, Ronaldo led Barcelona to win the UEFA Cup Winners’ Cup, the Copa del Rey and the Supercopa de Espana. He went on to top the Laliga goalscoring charts in 1997 and also won the Golden Shoe. For his performance in the 1996 season, Ronaldo who was then 20 years old, went on to become the youngest player to ever win the FIFA World Player of the Year. After a wonderful 1997 season at Barcelona, fans hoped Ronaldo will renew his contract with the club, as that’s what was the logical thing to do.
Inter Milan (1997–2002)
After Inter Milan paid the buyout clause of his contract with Barcelona, he was signed for a world record amount of $27 million, which made him the second player after Maradona to break the World transfer record on two occasions. In his first season at Inter Milan, Ronaldo scored 25 goals in the league and was named the Serie A Footballer of the Year. He also went on to claim the FIFA World Player of the Year as well as the Ballon d’Or.
Following his wonderful performance at the 1998 World Cup, Ronaldo established himself as one of the best players in the world. The following season, he was appointed the club’s captain. Through 1999 to 2002, Ronaldo enjoyed a successful time at Inter Milan which saw him win the Ballon d’Or for the third time. He, however, had to deal with recurring injuries. He ended his time at Inter Milan by scoring 59 goals in 99 games. In 2018, he was inducted into the Inter Milan Hall of Fame.
Real Madrid (2002–2007)
Following his five years stint at Inter Milan, he moved to Real Madrid for a record €46 million. In his debut season for Madrid, Ronaldo who was part of the Galáctico era which saw top stars such as David Beckham, Roberto Carlos, Luis Figo and others play for Los Blancos, won the 2002 Intercontinental Cup, as well as the 2003 Laliga and Spanish Cup. In the Champions League, Madrid was set to win the tournament, but following Ronaldo’s injury, Juventus defeated Madrid in the semifinal of the tournament.
In the 2003/04 season, Madrid who was on track to win a treble was knocked out of the Champions League and also lost the Copa del Rey final following Ronaldo’s injury. He, however, topped the goal-scoring chart of the league and also won a second Pichichi Trophy. In his final two seasons at Madrid, he struggled with injury and had weight issues and also fell out with Madrid manager, Fabio Capello.
AC Milan (2002–2008)
In January 2007, Ronaldo moved to AC Milan where he once again struggled to win The UEFA Champions League which evaded him. His move to AC Milan made him one of a handful of players who have played for Italian rivals, AC Milan and Inter Milan. A year after his move to Milan, he suffered an injury which ended his season and led him out of the club due to a lack of contract renewal.
In 2009, Ronaldo moved to Corinthians after signing a one year deal with the Brazilian club. In his first season with the club, he helped the club win the Campeonato Paulista and the Copa do Brasil. After renewing his contract for another year, Ronaldo had to retire prematurely after 18 years of active play due to hypothyroidism, a condition responsible for his weight gains which he struggled with during his career.
Ronaldo Nazario International Career
In March 1994, Ronaldo debuted for the Brazilian senior team in a friendly against Argentina. He was then selected to play in the 1994 World Cup but did not play. In the 1996 Olympics, he was part of the Brazilian team that won Bronze. In the 1995 Copa America, he helped Brazil emerge second. In the 1997 edition of the tournament, he was awarded the player of the tournament award as Brazil won the tournament. He also led Brazil to finish second in the 1998 World Cup as he won the Golden ball award, after leading Brazil to their maiden Confederations Cup win.
In the 1999 Copa America, he emerged the tournament top scorer as Brazil went on to emerge champions. In the 2002 World Cup, Ronaldo was in his best form as he led Brazil to World Cup glory and also tied for 12 goals in the World Cup with Brazilian legend, Pele. For his performance in the world Cup, he was awarded the BBC Overseas Sports Personality of the Year and the Laureus World Sports Award for Comeback of the Year Awards.
In the 2006 World Cup, his performance was incredible but not good enough to help Brazil win another World Cup trophy. He was the tournament’s third-highest goal scorer. Following the announcement that he’ll retire, a farewell match was held between Romania and Brazil, which Brazil won. He retired as Brazil’s second-highest goalscorer of all time.
Ronaldo Nazario Wife, Relationships, Personal Life
In 1997, Ronaldo met Susana Werner, an actress he met on the set of Malhação, a Brazilian telenovela. They courted and lived together in Milan but never got married.
In 1999, he married Milene Domingues, a Brazilian female footballer, who gave to their first son, named Ronald in April 2000. They divorced after 4 years of marriage. After he had a luxurious wedding with Daniela Cicarelli, an MTV VJ, she had a miscarriage and their marriage dissolved three months after.
His engagement to Maria Beatriz Antony was threatened in April 2008, after news emerged of his dealings with travesty prostitutes who were legally male. One of the prostitutes tried to blackmail Ronaldo and revealed the case to the media. Maria Beatriz Antony is the mother of his first daughter who was born in December 2008. She goes by the name, Maria Sophia. In April 2010, Antony had another daughter for him, Maria Alice.
In 2005, it was revealed that Ronaldo is the father of Alexander, a child born by a Brazilian waitress in Tokyo named, Michele Umezu. After it was confirmed that he had 4 children, he had a vasectomy in December 2010.
Ronaldo has business initiatives in the world of sports such as A1 Team Brazil, a team that competes in the A1 Grand Prix, an international racing series. He also owns 9INE, a sports marketing brand. Ronaldo established a youth football academy, Ronaldo Academy, in 2015. Branches of the academy are in Brazil, China and the US. In 2020, he plans to release 100 more branches.
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