ronaldo luiz nazario de lima1 was born on 22 september 1976 in a poor suburb of rio de janeiro2. like most of his childhood friends, ronaldo began his soccer career playing barefoot in the streets of his neighborhood. at the age of 14, he joined s?o cristov?o3 soccer club and only two years later became the star of cruzeiro belo horizonte4 scoring a total of 58 goals in 60 matches and earning himself a reputation for his explosive5 pace and outstanding finishing skills. his goal-scoring record and unusual agility6 led him to be included in the brazilian world cup winning team the following year. after the world cup, many top european football clubs were trying to sign him. many people, including brazilian football legend pelé7, referred to him as the most promising8 footballer of his generation.
since his transfer to dutch team psv eindhoven9, ronaldo s biography10 is one of success after success. two copa américa s11, a uefa12 cup, a dutch cup, a spanish league cup, and two awards as best player in the world, all in the space of two years, are some of ronaldo s impressive13 achievements. on arrival to inter-milan in 1997, ronaldo became the idol14 of the local fans who refer to him as "il fenomeno15."
since the 98 world cup he has suffered two serious knee injuries that have severely limited his appearances. just when people began to wonder whether ronaldo would be able to continue with his football career, he proved to the world that he still could play. in the world cup held in korea and japan, the magical striker16 won the golden shoe award and tied pele s brazilian record for career world cup goals with 12. he helped brazil capture17 its fifth world cup championship on june 30 with a 2-0 win over germany. it was the third time that ronaldo has ever played in the world cup.