Ronaldo Luís Nazário de Lima (Brazilian Portuguese: [ʁoˈnawdu ˈlwis nɐˈzaɾju dʒi ˈɫĩmɐ]; born 18 September 1976), commonly known as Ronaldo or Ronaldo Nazário, is a Brazilian business owner, president of La Liga club Real Valladolid, owner of Brasileiro Série B club Cruzeiro and a retired professional footballer who played as a striker. Nicknamed O Fenômeno (‘The Phenomenon’) and R9, he is widely considered one of the greatest players of all time. As a multi-functional striker who brought a new dimension to the position, Ronaldo has been an influence for a generation of strikers that have followed. His individual accolades include being named FIFA World Player of the Year three times and winning two Ballon d’Or awards.

Ronaldo Luís Nazário de Lima was born on 18 September 1976 in Rio de Janeiro as the third child of Nélio Nazário de Lima Snr. and Sônia dos Santos Barata. Ronaldo has a brother, Nélio Jr. His parents separated when he was 11, and Ronaldo dropped out of school shortly afterward to pursue a career in football. He played on the streets of Bento Ribeiro, a suburb of Rio de Janeiro. His mother states, “I always found him on the street playing ball with friends when he should have been in school. I know, I lost my battle.” He joined the Social Ramos futsal team at the age of 12 and led the city’s youth league in scoring with a record 166 goals in his first season which included scoring 11 of his team’s 12 goals in a single game. Crediting futsal for developing his skills, Ronaldo has said, “futsal will always be my first love.” His coach from Social Ramos, Alirio Carvalho, says: “What was special about Ronaldo was his attitude. It was as if he had come from the moon. Nothing disturbed him, nothing overawed him, nothing threw him off his game.”

Spotted by former Brazilian player Jairzinho, who was coaching São Cristóvão, Ronaldo played for the São Cristóvão youth team. Under the guidance of coach Alfredo Sampaio, he progressed quickly through the ranks, playing for the clubs’ under-17 and under-20 teams while only 15. Ronaldo’s agents in Brazil, Reinaldo Pitta and Alexandre Martins, signed him as a 13-year-old. Pitta stated, “We saw right away that he could be something different than most other players.” Recognized as a child prodigy, Jairzinho recommended the then 16-year-old to his former club Cruzeiro

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