Ronaldo Luiz Nazario da Lima was born on the 22nd September 1976 in Bento Ribeiro, a suburb of Rio de Janeiro (Brazil).
He was the youngest of three children born to Sonia and Nelio da Lima and was named after the doctor who delivered him, Dr. Ronaldo Valente.
Ronaldo, like all Brazilian kids, took up football as a hobby. He started off as a goalkeeper, but school coach, Fernando Gordo, looking at his speed and his ability to shoot with both feet, played him in the forward line. Gordo thought he could become a professional footballer and convinced his parents to let him devote more time to the game.
Aged just 13, Ronaldo signed a contract with local club Social Ramos in 1990 and was immediately noticed by the talent hunters. Sao Cristovao, a second division club, bought him the following year. After spending two successful years there he was bought by first division team, Cruzeiro. In 1993, he was called up to represent Brazil in the South American Under 17 Championships. Brazil went on to win the Cup. With his success at the club level and in the Brazilian Youth team, he was drafted into the national team for the 1994 World Cup. He did not have a role to play in the team, but watched Brazil win the World Cup that year from the sidelines.
Ronaldo shifted to Europe after the World Cup. He signed up for PSV Eindhoven for a record $ 4.7 million, where he finished as the league's top scorer. Not happy with the atmosphere and the food in Holland, he moved to Barcelona in 1996. Here he was top scorer again and won the FIFA World Player of the Year Award when he was only 19. He moved on to Inter Milan in 1997 and again won the FIFA World Player of the Year Award as also the Ballon D'Or Award. He helped Inter Milan win the UEFA Championship.
His fans looked forward to some exciting football from Ronaldo in the 1998 World Cup in France. Though there was news of internal conflict under coach Zagallo, the Brazilian team made it to the final to meet hosts, France. Ronaldo, who had performed exceedingly well thus far, scoring goals and creating opportunities for others, suffered from convulsions just before the final and was a shadow of his normal self during the match. Zinedine Zidane stole the show, winning the World Cup for France, while Ronaldo left France a broken man.
Between 1998 and 2002, Ronaldo underwent several knee operations and was hardly ever seen displaying his full talents for Inter Milan. These were seasons of discontent for him, for on one occasion, his car was stoned by an Inter fan who was unhappy with his contribution to the club's fortunes. He was also called before the Brazilian Parliament to explain why he played a lackluster game in the 1998 World Cup final and was made to reveal his contract with Nike, which some of his detractors alleged was responsible for Brazil's loss in the final. Unhappy with Inter Milan, Ronaldo signed up with Real Madrid just before the World Cup of 2002.
The World Cup held in Korea-Japan was the turning point in Ronaldo's career. He was top scorer as Brazil once again won the Cup. He won the Golden Boot and prize-money of $ 150,000, out of which he donated $ 35,000 to the National Cancer Institute of Brazil. He was named BBC Overseas Personality, won the FIFA Player of the Year Award yet again besides winning several other prizes.
Ronaldo has returned to peak form with Real Madrid, and in the company of Raul, Figo, Zidane, Beckham and Carlos, seems to be weaving magic with his dribbles and body-feints. But the best is yet to come from this brilliant Brazilian!