It’s the turn of Ronald Matarrita in our My Favorite Player series.
So far we’ve had Jack Harrison on Ronaldinho, Khiry Shelton on Thierry Henry, Ethan White on Carles Puyol and Sean Okoli on Zlatan Ibrahimovic.
Will the FC Barcelona connection go on through a fifth week?
In short: Yes.
Matarrita hasn’t gone for a player in his position but has instead gone with one of the best strikers to have ever played the game… it’s Ronaldo Luís Nazário de Lima.
Ronald on Ronaldo…
“For me, it’s always been Ronaldo. Ever since I was little I was always a defender but in my youth career I always followed Ronaldo my entire life.
“He’s been the most revolutionary player out of all of them.”
Ronaldo: Il Fenomeno
For those fortunate enough to be watching soccer when Ronaldo was at the peak of his powers, no-one will compare.
The greatest no.9 of his generation, Ronaldo was a genuine force of nature – an unstoppable blend of pace, power and skill, with an ice cold predatory instinct in front of goal.
From his first steps as a 16-year old professional, it was clear that Cruzeiro had a very special player on their hands and his impact in two years at Dutch outfit PSV, who he signed for at 17, convinced FC Barcelona to make a move for him in 1996.
Barcelona smashed the world record fee to bring him to Spain, paying $19.5m and he went on to repay that faith with a staggering 47 goals in 49 games, helping the Catalans to the Copa del Rey and the Cup Winners’ Cup.
Inter broke the world record again to take Ronaldo to Italy where he was named FIFA World Player of the Year and lifted the Ballon d’Or, helping his team to the UEFA Cup but a serious knee injury took its toll on the Brazilian and he moved to Real Madrid in 2002.
He scored 104 in 177 appearances for Real as part of the “Galacticos” era and lifted the LA Liga title twice, before going on to play for Milan and Corinthians in the twilight of his career.
At international level, Ronaldo recovered from the afore-mentioned knee injury to fire Brazil to the World Cup in 2002, winning the Golden Boot in the process with eight goals.
It was the second time he lifted it but, at the age of 17, he had played no part in Brazil’s success in 1994.
Ronaldo retired from soccer in 2011, bringing the curtain down on his glorious 18-year playing career. He is a goodwill ambassador for the United Nations Development Program and is still regularly seen watching games all over the globe.
Real Madrid 2002-07
Campeanato Mineiro: 1994
Copa do Brasil: 1993
KNVB Cup: 1996
Copa del Rey: 1997
UEFA Cup Winners’ Cup: 1997
UEFA Cup: 1998
La Liga (2): 2003 & 2007
Intercontinental Cup: 2002
Campeanato Paulista: 2009
Copa do Brasil: 2009
World Cup (2): 1994 & 2002
Copa America (2): 1997 & 1999
Confederations Cup: 1997