Ronaldo de Lima: From legendary past to reality

1 year ago

In football, few names resonate with as much power and charisma as Ronaldo de Lima. His illustrious past, filled with breathtaking goals and mesmerizing displays of skill, has solidified his place among the game's all-time greats. 

However, as time goes on, the line between past glory and present reality becomes clearer. In this article, we will explore the memorable journey of football legend - Ronaldo de Lima, the journey from a boy from street football to a "phenomenon" of the sport of kings.

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Ronaldo de Lima's biography and early life

Ronaldo de Lima was born on September 18, 1976, the third child in a poor family in the suburbs of Bento Ribeiro, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Since childhood, he was especially fond of football and often skipped school to play football on the street with his friends. 

“I always saw him playing football on the street, when he should have been at school,” his mother recalls. When Ronaldo was 11 years old, the situation was even more difficult because his parents divorced. Ronaldo had to drop out of school a short time later and wholeheartedly pursue his passion for football.

Ronaldo's first serious football matches took place at Valqueire Tennis Club, as a goalkeeper. Fortunately, coach Fernando dos Santos discovered Ronaldo's talent and brought him into the futsal team Social de Ramos when he was only 12 years old.

Not disappointed with coach Fernando, Ronaldo led the team to rise when he scored 166 goals in his first season, including a match that scored 11 out of 12 of the team's total. Ronaldo believes futsal football is where he develops his skills. "Futsal has always been my first love," Ronaldo said.

Thanks to his outstanding performance in Social de Ramos, Ronaldo caught the eye of the São Cristóvão team, a second-tier team in Brazil. Under the guidance of coach Alfredo Sampaio, he progressed rapidly. He played for the club's Under-17 and Under-20 teams when he was just 15 years old. During his time at São Cristóvão, Ronaldo scored 36 goals in 54 matches and was considered a "prodigy".

However, his childhood dream of playing for Clube de Regatas do Flamengo, the club of his idol Zico, did not come true. During the club's selection in 1992, he had to walk instead of a bus because he didn’t could afford it. So, he was late. But in return, Ronaldo's excellent performance at São Cristóvão continued to help him catch the eye of the professional team Cruzeiro E.C, where he would begin his top football career.

A rising star in professional football

Playing for Cruzeiro paved the way for Ronaldo to reach to bigger clubs in Europe. The first club is PSV Eindhoven in the Netherlands. Soon after, some of the richest football teams in the world were interested in signing Ronaldo. 

Barca took a long time to get Ronaldo, with the price negotiated with PSV skyrocketing from the original $10 million to the world record at that time of $ 19.5 million, the most expensive on the planet.

Stepping out on a big stage, Ronaldo immediately proved he was born to play football beyond the times. The star with the rabbit tooth shocked the Spanish and European press with performances that can only be seen from Lionel Messi or Cristiano Ronaldo in the 21st century. Ronaldo scored a brace on his debut against Atletico Madrid in the first leg of the Spanish Super Cup, starting the passionate days of Barca fans. In his first season playing for Barcelona at the age of 20, he won the FIFA Player of the Year award, becoming the youngest player ever to receive that honor.

He then signed with Inter Milan, becoming the first player since the legendary Diego Maradona to break the world transfer price record twice. In 1997, Ronaldo moved to Real Madrid, winning the Ballon d'Or and the La Liga title over two years, before moving to AC Milan.

Ronaldo has lightning speed, the ability to dribble the ball, perfect technique, and especially the instinct of a high-class goalscorer. During the peak of form, fans are often admiring the breakthrough phase from the middle of the field, through a forest of defenders, and gently put the ball into Ronaldo's net. Not only that, goals from powerful long-range shots, skillful free kicks, from decisive penalty kicks are also often shown by Ronaldo. 



During his career, Ronaldo has won a series of noble titles in the field of football. The first is the FIFA World Player of the Year award in 1996, 1997, and 2002. Similarly, he finished second in this award in 1998 and ranked third in 2003.

In addition, he also received the award European Golden Ball in 1997 and 2002, Silver Ball in 1996, and Bronze Ball in 1998. Not stopping there, this player was also voted the best player in the world in 1997 and 2002 by the French Onze Mondial magazine. He was also the World's Best Player in 1996, 1997, and 2002 awarded by World Soccer magazine. Ronaldo's number of awards seems indescribable when the 1994-1995 Dutch Championship Top Scorer also belongs to him.

Besides, he has also won many noble awards such as the 1997 European Golden Shoe; Copa America Player of the Year 1997; The 1997 Copa America Silver Shoe; UEFA Player of the Year in 1998. At the same time, he also got the 1998 World Cup Golden Ball; The 1998 World Cup bronze shoe; the Copa America top scorer in 1999; the 2002 World Cup Silver Ball; the 2002 World Cup Golden Shoe; the Top scorer of La Liga 1996-1997 and 2003-2004; 2006 Golden Shoe; The bronze shoe of the 2006 World Cup. And he is also the second-highest scorer in the World Cups with 15 goals in 19 games, just behind Germany's Miroslav Klose striker.


Ronaldo de Lima's personal value turns into big deals

It was reported that he made a whopping $4 million in his first year with the Catalan club after Barcelona spent a record amount of money to pick up his from PSV club in 1996. When he moved to Inter Milan at the age of 21 with a transfer contract of $ 27 million, becoming the world's best-selling sportswear marketing icon, Ronaldo is estimated to have earned $7 million a year.

In the summer of 2002, Ronaldo moved to Madrid with a transfer contract of up to $53 million, with a salary of $10 million/year. Since then, his fortune has skyrocketed, helping Ronaldo build a base to grow his fortune. It is estimated that to date, Ronaldo's total net worth is about $150 million.

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Some big companies like Nike and Adidas found the Brazilian legend when he was still active as a professional football player. To improve his brand, Ronaldo signed a contract worth $15 million/year in 1996 for 10 years with Nike. The total amount he collected from Nike reached $180 million.

In addition, it is reported that Ronaldo owns a 45% stake in the 9ine Sports and Entertainment Authority. He also bought a stake in the Fort Lauderdale Strikers football team playing in the North American soccer league. In 2017, Ronaldo bought a 51% stake for $45 million from Valladolid president Carlos Suarez and became the club's owner.



Ronaldo has been through some tough times as a player, sustaining several serious knee injuries during his playing career. The Brazilian celebrity occasionally waited for months in the chair because of knee injuries. Even worse, Ronaldo required 8 months to return to ball contact after totally rupturing the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee during the 2000 season. Those injuries were physical, but now Ronaldo admits he still struggles with the impact on his mental health, something he and his teammates didn't think about.

“Many people have gone through terrible times, even depression, because of lack of privacy, lack of freedom. It is true that the problems are obvious, but the solutions are not available," Ronaldo said. Ronaldo is currently preparing to release a documentary about his life, "The Phenomenon: Ronaldo's Rise, Fall and Redemption".

While no longer gracing the football pitch as a player, his influence remains palpable. As an ambassador for the sport, Ronaldo works tirelessly to inspire and empower the next generation of footballers. Moreover, his impact extends beyond the boundaries of the game, as he champions charitable causes and uses his platform to make a positive difference in the world.

In Conclusion

"El Fenomeno" (Alien), Ronaldo's nickname, once made the world admire his outstanding talent and great ability to score goals. Even when he suffered many serious injuries that damaged his legs, this player still captivated fans with his fast and slick dribbles. Ronaldo de Lima's journey from a legendary past to reality serves as a testament to his enduring legacy. While his playing days may be behind him, his impact on football and his role as a cultural icon is as relevant as ever. Ronaldo's extraordinary achievements, coupled with his resilience and dedication, have left an indelible mark on the sport and continue to shape its landscape today.