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Ronaldo

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Full name: Ronaldo Luiz Nazário de Lima
Date of birth: September 22nd 1976.
Place of birth: city of Rio de Janeiro, in the State of Rio de Janeiro.
Height: 1.83 m (6 ft)

Nicknames: when Ronaldo first came to the Brazilian team, in 1994, he was fellow of center-defense Ronaldão (Ronaldão = big Ronaldo); thus, despite being tall, he was dubbed Ronaldinho (Ronaldinho = little Ronaldo).
By 2002, Ronaldão had left the Brazilian team, and another Ronaldo, Ronaldinho Gaúcho, had joined it; for some time, Brazilian fans were used to see Ronaldinho and Ronaldinho Gaúcho playing side by side.
At the time, the fans of Internazionale in Milano were already calling him Ronaldo, the Phenomenon; Brazilian fans and media adopted the name. Today, Ronaldo is simply Ronaldo (or, Fenômeno), and Ronaldinho is Ronaldinho (or, Ronaldinho Gaúcho).

The first professional team where Ronaldo played was São Cristóvao, in the outskirts of Rio de Janeiro, from 1991 to 1993. Like every aspiring footballer in Rio, Ronaldo applied for tests in the football school maintained by his favorite team, Flamengo, but he was not approved.
In 1993, he was taken by Jairzinho, the Hurricane of the 1970 World Cup, to sign a contract with Cruzeiro, one of the major teams in the State of Minas Gerais.
In Cruzeiro, Ronaldo's abilities soon drew attention of coach Carlos Alberto Silva. Ronaldo played for the first time in Cruzeiro at age 16 during an excursion to Europe; back to Brazil, he was already a principal.
In the Brazilian Championship of 1993, Ronaldo played 14 matches and scored 12 goals; in a single match against Bahia, he scored 5 goals. After 60 matches as a professional, Ronaldo had scored 58 goals, more than Pelé had done in the same period.

Ronaldinho debuted for the Brazilian National team on March 23rd 1994, against Argentina.
Ronaldinho was the youngest Brazilian player to dispute the World Cup 1994, in the USA. He didn't play any match, but he became World Champion at age 17, just a few months older than Pelé in the 1958 Cup.

In 1994, right after the Cup, Dutch team PSV Eindhoven, who was looking for a substitute to Romário (who had left to Barcelona) paid US$ 6 million and contracted Ronaldo.
Ronaldo spent two seasons in Holland. He played 46 matches and scored 42 goals. PSV was champio of the Dutch League in 1996, and Ronaldinho the main striker. Submitted to intensive physical treatment, Ronaldo visibly gained muscular mass; some say that, because of the quick growth, he had to be submitted to his first knee surgery, in March of 1996.
In 1996, Ronaldo participated of the Atlanta Olympics; Brazil finished third (with defeats to Japan and Nigeria), and the campaign was considered a failure by Brazilian fans.

In 1996, Ronaldo moved to Barcelona FC, again in the foot steps of Romário (PSV's coach, Bobby Robson, moved to Barcelona and brought Ronaldo along with him). There, Ronaldo scored 47 goals in 49 matches, helping Barcelona win three titles (King's Cup, the UEFA Winner's Cup and the Spain Supercup).
Ronaldo was elected Player of the World by FIFA in 1996 and 1997 (and would again in 2002), and the European Footballer of the Year in 1997 (and again later in 2002).

In 1997, Ronaldo moved to Internazionale, in Milan; in 1997/8, he scored 25 goals, setting a new record for a foreigner in a first season in Italy.
Then at the peak of his career, Ronaldo was appointed as the main player of the 1998 World Cup.
In France, he scored 4 goals and contributed much to lead Brazil to the final match against the hosts.
A few hours before the final, Ronaldo had to be rushed to the hospital. There are a few controversies about the real causes of Ronaldo's breakdown, but most agree that the psychological pressure had their effects. Ronaldo eventually played the final match, but Brazil lost by 3 x 0 to France.

In 1999, he severely injured is knee and stayed out for several months. In 2000, he tried to return (many say the return was premature, forced by people interested in recovering the investment on Ronaldo) in a match against Lazio, but could not play more than seven minutes; his knee broke down again, in front of the cameras.
Ronaldo started a long, tiring and lonely process to recover. Internazionale gave him all the support, but the fundamental person was Nilton Petroni, known as Filé (filet), Brazilian physioterapist who accompanied Ronaldo for more than a year.
He returned to games in 2002, a few months before the World Cup. A controversy took over Brazil: should Ronaldinho go to the Cup? Or should coach Luiz Felipe take Romário, still, by then, the main scorer in Brazilian leagues?
Scolari opted for Ronaldo, and didn't regret. Ronaldo scored 8 goals, becoming the main striker and one of the main stars of the competition.

The very same year of 2002, Ronaldinho transferred to Real Madrid, after several clashes with coach Hector Cuper, from Argentina. The announcement of the transfer caused disturbs in Milan, for the club had given full support to Ronaldo during his recovering period, and fans expected more loyalty.
In Madrid, Ronaldo helped Real win the Spanish League in 2003. However, even playing beside other famous players like Zidane, Beckham, Figo, Owen and others (the Galáticos), Real Madrid didn't win anything from 2003 to 2006.
Ronaldo still maintains his position in the Brazilian team, but analysts say that he is loosing shape (at this interview, Pelé said that "Ronaldo is fat, but I want him on my team").

In 1998, Ronaldo was having an affair with Brazilian model Susana Werner, who accompanied him in France, during the Cup. Later on, Susana married to Júlio César, ome of the goalkeepers of the Brazilian team in the World Cup 2006.
In December 1999, Ronaldinho got married with Milene Rodrigues; Milene was not only a football player, she was also the recordist for ball control with the feet. They broke up in 2003, and have a son, Ronald, born in 2000.
In 2005, Ronaldinho got unofficially married with model and MTV hostess Daniela Cicarelli; Daniela got pregnant, but suffered a miscarriage. The relationship finished after three months.

Visit Ronaldo official site.


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