Luís Nazário de Lima, simply Ronaldo: the greatest of all

The genesis of the phenomenon

In the Northwest outskirts of Rio de Janeiro, precisely a Bento Ribeiro, very poor neighborhood, in Via General Cesar Obino, 22 September 1976 It is born Ronaldo Luis Nazario de Lima. Parents call him Ronaldo to thank the doctor who brought him into the world, Dr. Ronaldo Valente. The small Luis he starts playing football in the dusty rectangle of land in front of his house, always barefoot and with a ball that gradually wears out more and more. The first steps in a football team moves them in Valqueire Tennis Club, club of Futsal, our 5-a-side football and the dispute on goal, but as has happened for many other players, the change of role is decisive for him too.

He moves into attack and is immediately a show, because Luis he played from an early age without shoes, on rough terrain, perfecting his technique, but above all his agility. Johan Cruyff He is saying: “If you play on the street and fall, you get hurt but pain is something you can avoid, so while you play, you also make a commitment not to fall. If you know how to play in these conditions, you are able to face any situation “. Ronaldo perfectly summarizes and puts into practice the words and teachings of the Maestro Dutch. Its qualities are indisputable, it could go to Flamengo, not anymore Futsal, but 11-a-side football, the audition is fine, but the team Brazilian he cannot afford to pay for the bus and train tickets that would take him from Bento Ribeiro a Gavea for workouts. So at 11 he joined the ranks of Sao Cristovao, club which takes its name from the neighborhood in which it is located the Estádio Figueira de Melo, a stone’s throw from the mythical Rio de Janeiro Maracana. For Ronaldo goals in clusters and playing as a champion even on larger fields.

The turning point of the career

Ronaldo Brazil

The life of Luis changes radically when a banker named Alexandre Martins who frequents the fields on the outskirts of Rio de Janeiro looking for talent, he notices it and talks about it with his counter colleague, Reinaldo Pitta. The two who will later be nicknamed The cat e The Fox, they buy it for dollars 7.500 and they sell it to the Cruzeiro di Belo Horizonte. Martins e Pitta they will forever bind their name to that of the Fenomeno. The first part of the season 93/94, even allows him to be called up for the national team Use 94. In 14 matches he scored 12 goals. The CT Parreira does not make it debut at the World, in attack i green gold they have the pair of goals Romario-Bebeto, but Ronaldo è Sample of the world with the Brazil and has not yet turned 18. At the end of that championship with theCelestial Esquadrão, scores 56 goals in 54 games, winning one Brazil cup. Now the star is very bright and the clubs Europeans they begin to glimpse that light from overseas.

The fastest are the Dutch of PSV Eindhoven who have just sold the Brazilian Romario al Barcelona. The young man Luís Nazário is sold since Cruzeiro for just over 10 and a half billion lire (about 5 and a half million euros). In Holland il Brazilian he does not settle down immediately, the climate does not help, he is not used to that cold, but Ronaldo does not let down and in two years with the shirt of boeren, goes into goal 54 times in 57 games, conquering the Dutch Cup. The technical repertoire has not undergone any changes, it goes online with disarming ease. There is no defender who does not suffer from the ability to Ronaldo to move and cut the opponent’s defenses like a knife in butter. His trademark in addition to the sense and flair for goals is the double step. The double step of Fenomeno it’s something to drive your opponents out of their minds, it’s impossible to get the ball out of them once they’ve bet. He surpasses them, without ifs and buts.

The adventure in football for the greats


In the summer of 1996, Barcelona gets rid of the bulky goods Romario and the most logical choice is to think of replacing it with those who have done it more than admirably in PSV. That is how Ronaldo switch to Barca for a figure around 15 million of Euro. The growth of the Brazilian is constant and in the only year in Spain conquer one King’s Cup, a Cup Winners’ Cup, signing the decisive penalty in the final with the PSG, a Spanish Super Cup, author of a brace and an assist in the double confrontation with Atletico Madrid, coming second in Liga behind the Real Madrid, by just two points and winning the title of scorer with 34 goals. Another season from Fenomeno per Ronaldo in that 49 match scored 47 times, also providing 12 assists.

In that same year he also won the Copa America with its Brazil, beating the hosts of the Bolivia a La Paz nello Hernando Siles Stadium, located more than 3600 meters above sea level. Ronaldo in the final he scored the decisive 2-1, closing his tournament with a tally of 5 goals and the title of MVP of the competition.

The Nerazzurri era The spectators interested in those football nights are the fans of theInter than reading in the newspapers or listening to the little news that in 1997 you could have them in real time, hope those market rumors that give the FenomenoRonaldo near the Nerazzurri are true. In the eyes are still the prowess seen in that late-night tournament on TMC, with the commentary of the legendary duo Caputi-Bulgarelli. The 20nd June of 1997 Ronaldo is officially a footballer ofInter: the society Milanese pays the amount of the termination clause. It’s all true. Maximum Moratti scores a resounding blow. Brings in

championship Italian the strongest player of the World. The negotiation with the Barcelona it’s not easy, but once you have paid this famous termination clause equal to 48 billion, the Catalans they can appeal to very little. After a diatribe lasting several days, the membership is also approved by FIFA which establishes an indemnity in favor of the Barça about 3 billion lire 

Il July 25 1997 the dream comes true. The Fenomeno arrives at the then location Nerazzurri di Via Durini with a checkered shirt, an earring on his left ear and a cap of the technical sponsor, the smile seems almost that of a child, then he looks out from an office balcony and in the street there is a very large group of fans waiting for him Nerazzurri who do not believe their own eyes. The enthusiasm is sky high, the cheering Inter speaks of title, they sing it, it is discussed everywhere. The air you breathe a Milan and among all the fans ofInter it’s electric. The season of Ronaldo it is sensational, it does not betray the expectations, numbers and plays by champion in Italy and abroad, but in Serie A they are not enough. The Brazilian put together 25 goals in the top flight, finishing in second place behind the Juventus, While in Europe raises in the night of Paris against Lazio, 1998 Uefa Cup, signing the definitive 3-0 with a classic from his repertoire, a double step drunkard who leaves no way to the goalkeeper biancoceleste Marchegiani. The season for him ends with 47 games, 34 goals and 5 assists it’s a Golden Ball.

Victory under the Eiffel Tower will be the highest point reached by Ronaldo with the shirt Nerazzurri. Accomplices injuries and bad luck will no longer be able to be decisive for the victory of another trophy. Two episodes that deeply mark his adventure in nerazzurri. The 12 April 2000,Inter play at Rome, always against the Lazio, the first leg semifinal of the Coppa Italia. Ronaldo back in the squad list after a long knee injury. At 52 ‘the coach Marcello Lippi with Nerazzurri under a goal, he decides to send the Brazilian. After a little over six minutes, his right leg gives way as he tries his usual double step, the knee sprains and the boy falls to the ground screaming. Scenes that will remain forever in the eyes of the players on the pitch and in those of those who are watching the game at the stadium or on television. The pain, very strong, is in the screams of him, in the wriggling of him as he comes out on a stretcher comforted by Zamorano. In the heat of the moment, we immediately talk about a career at risk, we suspect the injury of the patellar tendon of the right knee. The diagnosis is merciless, there is even a rupture.


The willpower of Ronaldo is decisive and after just over a year and a half, he returns to tread a football field. It is December of 2001 and on the benchInter sits l’hombre vertical, Hector Cuper: the coach Argentine and Brazilian they don’t have a good relationship at all, but the season continues until the decisive match is reached, again against Lazio but this time he has very little to ask of his championship. To the Nerazzurri victory is enough to graduate Champions of Italy. The game, despite the relaxed atmosphere of the previous days, for theInter ends badly. 4-2 for i biancocelesti, Juventus wins ad Udine and Rome beats the Turin in the house, sliding the 11’s Cups even in third place which means foreplay Champions League.

History Inter of Fenomeno Ronaldo ends right atOlympic di Rome, on that green lawn that more than two years earlier brought him one step away from the abyss. Ronaldo at the end of the game he is literally destroyed, he sheds many tears, his hands on his face do not hide the pain from the cameras and cameras that curious look for the eyes of the Brazilian. One step away from glory, his dream of winning there Serie A is now in a thousand pieces. It is in those moments that his farewell is probably consummated. I tear it with Cups it is now impossible to mend and the August 31th is officially a footballer of the Real Madrid, but that’s another story.  

Il Fenomeno he leaves without saying goodbye to anyone, he seems to want to escape. In the world Inter a sense of disbelief and disappointment for a love that is now over and not completely consummated. The Ronaldo nerazzurri, a lightning strike that strikes the earth, bright and blinding that in a few moments vanishes, leaving the fans of theInter just the memory.

Di Francesco Niglio

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