RIO DE JANEIRO, Brazil, Dec 18 – Former Brazil striker Ronaldo said on Saturday that he was buying Cruzeiro, the club where he made his professional debut, but which has been languishing in Brazil’s Serie B for two seasons.
“I am very happy to have concluded this deal,” the 45-year-old said in a video posted on social media by club president Sergio Santos Rodrigues.
“I have a lot to give back to Cruzeiro, to take Cruzeiro where it deserves to be,” Ronaldo added holding a club shirt with the No.9 and his nickname ‘Fenomeno’ on the back.
“We have a lot of work ahead of us. I ask the fans to get connected to the club again, to go to the stadium, because we will need a lot of strength and unity. We have a lot of work and ambition to make Cruzeiro great again.”
Globoesporte.com reported that Ronaldo will pay 400 million reais (about 60 million euros) to become the club’s majority shareholder.
He already has a controlling stake, acquired in 2018, in Spanish club Valladolid, who were relegated to the second division last season.
Ronaldo, who is from Rio de Janeiro, joined Cruzeiro, in Belo Horizonte, making his professional debut in 1993 aged 16.
He scored 56 goals in 58 matches for the club, which earned him a call-up to the 1994 World Cup in the United States where he collected a winner’s medal without playing a single minute.
After the World Cup, Cruzeiro sold Ronaldo to PSV Eindhoven.
He went on to shine at Barcelona, Inter Milan, Real Madrid and AC Milan before ending his career at Sao-Paulo based Corinthians in 2011.
At the 2002 World Cup he scored eight goals in seven games as Brazil won again.
Ronaldo was voted FIFA World Player of the Year three times and received the Ballon D’Or twice.
Cruzeiro won the Brazilian league as recently as 2013 and 2014 and the cup in 2017 and 2018 but were relegated at the end of 2019.
The club flirted with another relegation last season before finishing 14th place in Brazil’s second division.