Despite Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo dominating football for longer than a decade, Brazil icon Ronaldo Nazario has been spoken about as one of the greatest ever players. Here is what 10 huge names in football said about the former striker.
Click through the gallery to see what has been said about Ronaldo Nazario by some of football’s biggest names!
10 years before Messi and Ronaldo burst on to the scene, Ronaldo Nazario was developing a reputation at Brazilian club Cruzeiro. In 1994, the striker made his first move to Europe, signing for Dutch side PSV Eindhoven.
In his two years in the Netherlands, Ronaldo scored 51 goals in 54 matches, putting him on the radar of many of the world’s top clubs. The forward then put pen to paper a deal with FC Barcelona in 1996, where he played just one season.
According to Transfermarkt, the 19-year-old attacker struck 40 goals in his 46 matches at the Spanish giants – a remarkable feat for a player who was seemingly yet to reach his prime.
Ronaldo then moved to Inter Milan in 1999, where he played for five years before signing for Real Madrid for €45 million (R703 million). ‘O Fenomeno’ as he became known as, was one of the best strikers the world had ever seen, but injuries caused him dark times.
In his Transfermarkt’s records of Ronaldo’s injuries, it says the forward missed 1082 days of football in his career, which equates to just less three years. The player also suffered from a thyroid condition, which he only discovered in the latter stages of his career.
His playing days may have been plagued with injuries, but Ronaldo won trophies at club and international level, including two FIFA World Cups, although he was only 17 years old at his first one in 1994 and did not feature.
The striker’s talents were seen as supernatural to many fans, throughout his career compared him to the likes of Diego Maradona and Pele. In 2011, after spells at AC Milan and Corinthians, Ronaldo hung up his boots at 34 years old.
To this day, there are many professional players who still regard him as the best striker to have ever played the game, with the likes of Lionel Messi, Mario Balotelli and Zlatan Ibrahimovic acknowledging Ronaldo as their idol.
Juventus and Argentina striker recently said: “I’ve watched two million of his goals. For me, he’s the best ever, by a big margin,” according to The Guardian.
Do you think Ronaldo Nazario might have been more talented than both Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo? Let us know in the comments section below.