MILAN - Who will make it into the Inter Hall of Fame in 2020? Eight Nerazzurri legends have already been voted in by Nerazzurri fans in the 2018 and 2019 editions, with Ronaldo the first forward to make it in before being joined by Giuseppe Meazza in 2019. Today we’re bringing you five facts about Ronaldo, the first-ever forward to enter the Nerazzurri Hall of Fame.
1) Not just “Il Fenomeno”: Ronaldo’s first nickname was...
Ronaldo Luis Nazario de Lima: this is the full name of the Brazilian forward born in Bento Ribeiro, Rio de Janeiro, on 22 September 1976. The name “Ronaldo” was chosen by his parents in honour of Ronaldo Valente, the doctor who delivered little Luis. So everyone called him Ronaldo, right? Not quite everyone: Nelio Junior, his brother who was two years older than Ronaldo, couldn’t pronounce "R-o-n-a-l-d-o" in the right way, and found it easier just to say “Dadado”. As a result, for the children on the streets of Rio where he grew up, Ronaldo was called “Dadado” for years. A nickname he carried with him until the age of 16, when Ronaldo insisted on being called by his real name. He was just emerging as a player and many called him “Ronaldinho”, meaning little Ronaldo: he was only young, but everyone already expected a lot of him, and it wasn’t long until Ronaldinho became O Fenômeno. Seeing him play, this nickname seemed only natural to best describe his supernatural talents on the pitch. At Barcelona, after that famous goal against Compostela, a Catalan radio show launched a poll to select the most appropriate nickname: “superhuman” and “E.T.” received the most votes. But Ronaldo remained "Il Fenomeno" for all, immortalised in that famous chant: “Oh, Il Fenomeno, he’s one of us”. Finally, the abbreviation. For so many, for everyone, Ronaldo was simply Ronie.
2) Only 99 games for Inter, but 59 goals!
Ronaldo played in a Nerazzurri shirt from 1997 to 2002, playing 99 games and scoring 59 goals. The fact that injuries plagued Ronie’s time at Inter is a source of huge regret from Inter fans and the whole footballing world. His first goal came in his second game, away to Bologna in a 4-2 victory (look back on it here), while his last was from a free kick in Inter 3-1 Piacenza, a week before that fatal defeat to Lazio on the last day of the 2002 season. In between, a series of marvellous goals (all of which you can watch below), with his final tally ending on 49 goals in Serie A, six in the UEFA Cup, one in the Champions League and three in the Coppa Italia.
3) He won two World Cups with Brazil
Everyone remembers Ronaldo on top of the world in 2002, kissing the trophy with that outlandish haircut after scoring a brace in the final against Germany in Yokohama. Ronie left so much pain behind him that day: the bitterness of the end of the season at Inter, but also the bitterness of the World Cup final four years earlier, as France beat Brazil 3-0 in a final with a controversial build-up. But not everyone will remember Ronaldo at the 1994 World Cup: he wasn’t even 18 years old, but was already making a scene at Cruzeiro. A child prodigy, he was called up to Carlos Alberto Parreira’s squad having already made a pair of appearances against Argentina and Iceland (against whom he scored his first goal for the Seleção. But Ronaldo watched the entire 1994 World Cup from the bench without playing a single minute. Regardless, he was still a World Champion in 1994. After that penalty miss from Roberto Baggio, Ronie celebrated with a Brazil flag on the pitch in Pasadena.
4) His incredible goals-to-games ratio
Ronaldo’s career was marked by an incredible goalscoring average, something truly unique for such a long career, especially in light of his serious injuries. A few numbers: 47 games for Cruzeiro and 44 goals scored, almost one a game. The same for PSV (57 games and 54 goals) and Barcelona (49 games, 47 goals). He played 99 and scored 59 for Inter (0.6), having a similar average at Real Madrid (177 games, 104 goals). He got nine goals from 20 appearances at AC Milan (0.45) and 35 from 69 with Corinthians. In total, he scored a staggering 352 goals in 518 appearances, a goals-to-games ratio of 0.68. Ronaldo also scored 62 goals in his 98 appearances for Brazil (an average of 0.63 per game), and sits just behind Brazil’s all-time top scorer Pelé on 77 goals, with Neymar just one goal behind Il Fenomeno in the rankings.
5) He’s now President of Valladolid
After an experience in the United States as a minority shareholder at the Fort Lauderdale Strikers, Ronaldo bought 51% of the shares of Real Valladolid on 3 September 2018, becoming President of the La Liga side.