Ronaldo de Lima Biography – Childhood, Parents, Family [2024]

Our article on Ronaldo de Lima’s biographical facts and his childhood story delivers a comprehensive chronicle of significant occurrences from his early years to the present day.

In this article, Soccer Biography unveils the complete tale of a soccer icon famously recognized by the moniker, ‘Fenomeno‘.

This examination encompasses his journey prior to gaining fame, his personal life, and numerous lesser-known details from both on and off the field. So let’s dive right in.

Ronaldo Luis Nazario de Lima’s Early Life and Family Background:

To begin with the biographical details, Ronaldo Luis Nazario de Lima was born on September 18, 1976, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. His parents, Nelio Nazario de Lima Sr. and Sonia dos Santos Barata, welcomed him as the third child in their family.

Hailing from an economically disadvantaged background, Ronaldo’s family struggled to provide for his education. Nevertheless, he was acknowledged as a gifted child, excelling in academics during his formative years.

Unfortunately, his academic success came to a halt at age 11 when his parents separated, leaving Ronaldo without proper care. Consequently, he had to leave school.

To make ends meet, Ronaldo began participating in street soccer tournaments, discovering his passion for the sport in the process.

Ronaldo de Lima’s Family Life:

Interestingly, Ronaldo’s love life first came to light in 1997 when he encountered Brazilian model and actress Susana Werner, whom he admired from the popular Brazilian TV show ‘Malhacao’. He appeared in three episodes, during which the two fell in love. Their relationship continued until early 1999.

As one relationship ended, another began for the highly sought-after footballer. Later in 1999, Ronaldo fell for former Brazilian football player Milene Domingues. It wasn’t long before she became pregnant, leading Ronaldo to propose.

The couple married in April 1999, and their son Ronald was born in Milan on April 6th of the same year. However, their marriage ended after four years.

In 2005, Ronaldo got engaged to Brazilian model and MTV star Daniela Cicarelli. Although she became pregnant, she tragically suffered a miscarriage. Their relationship, which lasted only three months following their lavish £700,000 wedding ceremony, proved to be Ronaldo’s shortest.

Ronaldo Becomes Alexander’s Father:

In 2005, Ronaldo underwent a paternity test and confirmed that he was the father of a young boy named Alexander. Alexander arrived into the world after a brief relationship between Ronaldo and Michele Umezu. She is a Brazilian waitress whom Ronaldo first encountered in Tokyo in 2002.

Controversy:

In April 2008, Ronaldo found himself embroiled in a scandal involving three transgender sex workers he met at a nightclub in Rio de Janeiro. After realizing they were biologically male, Ronaldo offered them $600 to leave. One of them, the now-deceased Andréia Albertini, demanded $30,000 and later revealed the incident to the press.

Ronaldo’s wedding to Maria Beatriz was called off as a result of the scandal. However, after providing clarification on the matter, the couple reconciled and their relationship deepened.

The couple became more open about their relationship, making it clear that Ronaldo was no longer searching for love. On December 24, 2008, Maria Beatriz Antony welcomed their first daughter, Maria Sophia, in Rio de Janeiro.

Research has it that in April 2009, the family relocated to a new penthouse in São Paulo. On April 6, 2010, Maria Beatriz Antony gave birth to their second daughter, Maria Alice, also in São Paulo.

Intriguingly, Maria Alice was born exactly ten years to the day after her older brother Ronald.

Following the birth of his fourth child, Ronaldo announced on December 6, 2010, that he had undergone a vasectomy, stating he believed that four children were enough and it was time to “close the factory.”

Bond with First Son, Ronald:

The father-son duo of Ronaldo and Ronald share a strong bond, with no doubts about their connection or any untapped emotions between them. Ronald receives ample support, guidance, and care from his father, Ronaldo.

Ronaldo de Lima’s Biography – Early Beginnings in Football:

A mere six months after Ronaldo started playing football, he became a regular participant in local matches organized in his neighbourhood. With the support of friends and neighbours who were aware of his circumstances, they encouraged his rapid progress.

Ronaldo’s journey in football began on the streets of Bento Ribeiro, a suburb in Rio de Janeiro, which also marked the inception of his meteoric rise to global football stardom.

Seizing every opportunity, Ronaldo displayed his extraordinary street skills on the field, eventually catching the eye of Brazilian legend Jairzinho. At the time, Jairzinho served as both a football coach and scout.

Recognizing the young talent’s potential, Jairzinho recommended the 16-year-old Ronaldo to his former club, Cruzeiro. In his debut season, Ronaldo shattered records by scoring an astounding 44 goals in 44 games.

Football enthusiasts and pundits alike were left in awe of Ronaldo’s exceptional acceleration, remarkable body balance, precise control, and outstanding technique.

Ronaldo Luis Nazario de Lima Biography – Journey to Stardom:

Ronaldo’s exceptional performance helped Cruzeiro secure their first Brazil Cup championship in 1993. Due to his playing style, reminiscent of Pele’s early years in 1958, people began referring to him as the “New Pele.”

By the age of 17, Ronaldo had garnered significant national attention. His impressive performance also earned him a spot on Brazil’s 1994 World Cup team, which went on to win the championship in the United States. Although he did not play during the tournament, his presence on the squad attracted attention from Europe.

Piet De Visser, a highly regarded football scout known for discovering Brazilian star Romário, took notice of Ronaldo’s talent. Consequently, after the World Cup, Ronaldo was offered a transfer to PSV Eindhoven in the Netherlands.

Following the tradition for Brazilian players to gain experience in European football by playing in countries like the Netherlands or France, Ronaldo accepted the offer.

Ronaldo’s career took off in 1994 when he joined PSV Eindhoven. He quickly proved his worth against top European competition, averaging nearly a goal per game. In his two seasons with the club, Ronaldo scored 54 goals in 57 appearances.

Ronaldo de Lima Bio – 1996 Success and Beyond:

The summer of 1996 was a time filled with remarkable events. Michael Johnson that year, won double gold at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics, England hosted the European Championships, and the Spice Girls burst onto the music scene.

It was also the year Hotmail was invented, the Fugees released their hit song, Nelson Mandela stepped down as South Africa’s prime minister, and Prince Charles and Princess Diana signed divorce papers.

Most notably, 1996 was the year Ronaldo Luis Nazario de Lima became a globally recognized name. That year, Barcelona signed the 19-year-old goal-scoring prodigy from PSV Eindhoven.

It was during this period that Sir Bobby Robson and Jose Mourinho worked with Ronaldo at Barcelona, serving as manager and assistant manager, respectively.

Although Ronaldo only spent a single season with Barcelona, he made a significant impact. He led the team to UEFA Cup Winners’ Cup and Copa del Rey victories.

During his time with the club, Ronaldo scored an impressive 47 goals in 49 games and became the youngest player to win the FIFA World Player of the Year award – a record that still stands.

At just 20 years old, Ronaldo showcased an unprecedented level of finishing prowess. According to him; 

“I love to score goals. This is not my specialty, but my habit.”

– Ronaldo.

The Inter Milan Saga:

In 1998, the football world was beginning to see the influence of money, as Barcelona accepted a record-breaking bid of £18 million from Inter Milan for Ronaldo. Eager for a new challenge, Ronaldo joined the Italian powerhouse.

His debut season was marked by 34 more goals and the breaking of additional records. Notably, Ronaldo became the first player in the world to win back-to-back FIFA Best World Player of the Year awards, and he also claimed the prestigious Ballon D’or.

The unforgettable 1998 World Cup Finals:

The 1998 World Cup final between Brazil and France was set to be an epic showdown. While Brazil aimed to defend their 1994 championship, France sought their first-ever World Cup victory on home soil. The match featured two legends, Zinedine Zidane and Ronaldo, going head-to-head.

However, controversy surrounded Ronaldo just hours before the game. Brazil’s star player reportedly fell ill, with rumors ranging from an upset stomach to food poisoning or personal issues. Eventually, Brazilian team doctor Lidio Toledo revealed that Ronaldo had been hospitalized after suffering an unexpected convulsion while he was sleeping the night before the FIFA World Cup final.

Initially dropped from the starting lineup, Ronaldo made a dramatic return just minutes before kickoff. Unfortunately, he was unable to overcome his illness and performed below his usual standard. Zidane seized the opportunity, scoring twice and leading France to a 3-0 victory over Brazil.

Reflecting on the 1998 World Cup Final, Ronaldo said, “We lost the World Cup, but I won another cup – my life.”

Ronaldo de Lima Biography – Overcoming Early Injuries:

Numerous footballers with great potential have had their careers threatened by injuries. Michael Owen, Paul Gascoigne, Joe Cole, and Gary Neville, among others, have faced career-ending injuries and struggled to regain their best form.

There is a thin line separating the great from the rest. It is difficult to become the best, but it is even harder to rise back to the top after falling and being written off. This is the story of Ronaldo Luis Nazario de Lima’s battle with injuries.

1998 World Cup Injury and Comeback:

During the 1998 World Cup, Ronaldo was injured in a collision with French goalkeeper Barthez. Later, he exacted revenge on Barthez with a stunning hat-trick against Manchester United, earning him a standing ovation from the Old Trafford crowd.

The 1999/2000 Injury and Comeback:

On November 21, 1999, misfortune struck Ronaldo again when he ruptured a knee tendon during a Serie A match against Lecce. After surgery and five months of rehabilitation, he returned for the Coppa Italia final against Lazio.

However, the dream of a triumphant comeback was dashed when he suffered a second, more severe injury to the same knee just seven minutes into the match. Ronaldo was carried off the field on a stretcher.

He would not play the beautiful game again until the end of the 2001/2002 season. As a result, he was sidelined for a year, appearing in only sixteen games and scoring just seven goals for Inter that season.

Journey After Inter Milan:

Following his recovery, Ronaldo worked diligently to convince Brazil’s manager, Luiz Felipe Scolari, to include him in the 2002 World Cup squad in Japan and Korea.

Ronaldo adapted his playing style after the injury, relying more on strength and an enhanced sense of goal rather than speed and agility.

He showcased this new approach with stunning results, leading Brazil to the final against Germany and ultimately securing victory.

In the 2002 World Cup, Ronaldo scored eight goals, earned the MVP award, and also won the FIFA World Player and Laureus Comeback of the Year awards that year.

Real Madrid Years:

His impressive performance resulted in another record-breaking transfer fee of €39 million, as Real Madrid added him to their star-studded roster of Galacticos.

Even though he was unable to play until mid-October, Real Madrid’s fans greeted Ronaldo with enthusiasm, chanting his name during matches he did not attend and setting records for merchandise sales.

Ronaldo expressed his gratitude to the fans by scoring two goals in his debut and contributing 30 goals in total, helping Madrid win La Liga.

Despite numerous injuries, Ronaldo managed to score 104 goals in 184 games for Madrid during his five years with the club.

Post Real Madrid Era (Injury Struggles and Comeback):

In 2006, Ronaldo lost favor with Madrid’s manager Fabio Capello, and after the acquisition of Ruud Van Nistelrooy from Manchester United, his time at the Bernabeu was limited.

On January 27th, 2007, Ronaldo signed with AC Milan for a €7.5 million deal.

On February 13th, 2008, during a league match against Livorno, Ronaldo was carried off the field with a ruptured kneecap ligament after a seemingly harmless attempt to win the ball.

This marked the third such injury for Ronaldo, and even the renowned Milan Fitness Lab doubted his chances of recovery. AC Milan refused to renew his contract at the end of the season, despite him scoring eight goals in 20 games.

Ronaldo said,

“My life has always been a series of challenges, and I’m psychologically prepared, but this is so far the biggest challenge of my life time.”

Defying the Odds Again:

After being out of action for over a year, Ronaldo pledged to overcome his third career-threatening injury.

He returned to his home country, signing with Corinthians, where he was warmly welcomed upon his introduction.

Despite a 13-month absence, Ronaldo scored 30 goals in 55 appearances, helping his team achieve a rare league and cup double.

There were also renewed calls for him to rejoin the Brazil squad for the 2010 World Cup, but it did not materialize.

Final World Cup Appearance:

The Brazilian legend participated in the 2006 World Cup, despite concerns about his fitness and weight. He managed to break Gerd Muller’s record by becoming the all-time World Cup top scorer with 15 goals.

He achieved this milestone with a signature goal against Ghana on June 27th. Ronaldo securing his 15th goal in a World Cup finals tournament. Brazil was later eliminated by France in the quarter-finals.

Weight Struggles:

In the latter part of his career, Ronaldo faced challenges with excessive weight gain.

Medical examinations revealed he had hypothyroidism, a condition that affects the body’s metabolism.

Ronaldo explained,

“Upon medical examination, I discovered I was suffering from a condition called hypothyroidism. It slows down my metabolism. To control it, I would have to take hormones, a drug that is not permitted in football due to anti-doping rules. I’m afraid my career is nearing its end.”

Despite promising his fans he would keep fighting to lose weight, Ronaldo never provided any guarantees. At some point, it seemed that all hope was lost after much struggle. He never managed to regain his optimal shape.

Retirement:

Brazilian Ronaldo declared his retirement from football during an emotional press conference. It brought an end to his 18-year career. He officially announced his retirement in February 2011.

Ronaldo stated:

“My career was beautiful and wonderful. I’ve experienced many defeats but countless victories. It’s incredibly difficult to leave something that made me so happy.

Mentally, I wanted to continue, but I have to admit that I lost the battle to my body.”

Years after retirement from football, Ronaldo Luis Nazario de Lima found success in the realm of the game’s business.

As of this update, he is the proud owner of Real Valladolid (owning 50% of the club shares). This is a Spanish club featuring talented players like Gonzalo Plata. He is an Ecuadorian speedster who helped them secure a promotion to La Liga.

Ronaldo Luis Nazario de Lima – An Unfair Comparison (with Cristiano Ronaldo):

When the name Ronaldo is mentioned, most people think of Cristiano Ronaldo, Cr7, or Cr9.

Luis Nazario De Lima Ronaldo, however, is often referred to as ‘Fat Ronaldo’. Or ‘Mota (fat) Ronaldo’, ‘Mottai (bald) Ronaldo’, ‘Weird haircut Ronaldo’, and ‘The other Ronaldo’.

Many fans of Ronaldo de Lima feel disheartened when someone as accomplished as him is reduced to such low levels. And remembered not for his achievements but for his weight or hairstyle.

This is one of the reasons SoccerBiography has taken the time to write the biography of this legend. A Baller who is arguably one of the biggest inspirations for many footballers. A few examples include the likes of Rodrygo Silva de Goes.

So, we ask you, will you remember Ronaldo for his weight or his goal-scoring prowess? Will you remember him for his hair or his exceptional skills on the field?

The next time someone mentions Ronaldo to you, will you think of the Portuguese forward or the Brazilian FIFA? Share your thoughts in the comments below after reading this article. And stay tuned for more Brazilian soccer stories. The Life History of Vitor Roque is a good read.

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