Brazilian Ronaldo turns 45 on September 22. Football.ua could not miss this date, but it is always tough to write about football players of this caliber. Thousands of articles have been written about their careers, dozens of films and books have been published. It is not so easy to find a period of their job that would open up at least something new for fans who more or less know football history. Phenomenal season in Barcelona; expensive transition to Inter; a mysterious story with epilepsy before the 1998 World Cup final; terrible injuries at the turn of the century; triumphant return to the 2002 World Cup; 4.5 controversial seasons in Real Madrid and 1.5 years tainted by injuries in Milan are all well-known stories.

We will begin our story precisely in the summer of 2008, when the 31-year-old, once the best striker in the world, found himself in free-agent status, with an unhealed injury and four months of downtime outside of football. Despite all the difficulties, Ronaldo did not intend to end his career on such an awkward note. On September 18, 2008, on Ronaldo's 32nd birthday, information spread in the world press that the striker had conducted the first training session with the ball since October Years "Ronaldo" began to train with Flamengo.

This turn of events, of course, made the "red-blacks" a favorite in the fight for Ronaldo, primarily since the striker himself did not hide the fact that in childhood, he was a fan of Flamengo. However, until the contract was signed, the media were still expecting the return of "Phenomenon" to Europe. They called Manchester City, PSG; even a return to Milan was not ruled out. Ronaldo himself trained with Flamengo for three months and often appeared in public in the club's attributes.

Therefore, when on December 9, 2008, the site of Corinthians, Flamengo's principal rival, announced the signing of a contract with Ronaldo, it came as a shock to the fans of the "red-blacks." Almost immediately, indignant fans gathered outside the club office and began to burn T-shirts with portraits of Ronaldo, and the local newspaper came out with the headline "Phenomenal Traitor."

The forward himself did not see his guilt in such an unexpected transition: "I understand everything perfectly; I am an open fan of Flamengo. But I trained with Flamengo for four months and never received an offer. Corinthians made an offer that would allow me to continue my career," explained forward.

Flamengo President Marcio Braga, on the one hand, expressed bewilderment about Ronaldo's decision; on the other, he admitted that there was no contract offer: "I was surprised by this news. It wasn't enjoyable. He said he wanted to stay here; he trained here. Flamengo did not receive a single 'thank you from him. We did not offer a contract while Ronaldo was injured, as it could harm him. He could be too preoccupied with the game before he fully recovers. Ronaldo's official return to Brazilian football, 14.5 years later, had the effect of a bomb exploding in the Brazilian information space. Dozens of newspapers have discussed the phenomenon's current shape, its sizable waistline, and passion for nightlife. Pele warned that there would be huge expectations from Ronaldo that would need to be met. The transition was commented on even by Brazilian President Lula da Silva. She said that he was pleased with the return of Ronaldo and believed that the 32-year-old striker could still bring many benefits to Brazilian football.

However, not everyone was as optimistic. Ronaldo's athletic form after another six-month inactivity caused serious concern. And to understand their validity, one did not need to be an expert. It was enough to look at the not quite athletic figure of a football player. Therefore, the winter off-season 08/09 passed for Ronaldo in intense physical training mixed with night outings. A couple of weeks after signing a contract with Corinthians, photos of Ronaldo appeared in the press at one of the nightclubs in Sao Paulo. The striker was then fined 15,000 for returning to the team's hotel at 5:30 a.m. after a party. All this was a gold mine for the numerous yellow press, watching every step of the star player.

Ronaldo's debut for Corinthians took place on March 4, 2009, in the Brazilian Cup match against Itumbiara, in which he came on as a substitute for the last half hour of the game. The forward did not show anything outstanding on the field, and the local press wrote that "Ronaldo showed that he is still far from the physical condition that is expected from a professional player."

Himself, "Ronaldo," however, did not lose heart: "It was only the beginning. Now I cannot be stopped!" Just four days later, Ronaldo scored his first goal for Corinthians in the match against Palmeiras for 90 3 minutes, with the score of 1: 0 in favor of the opponent, the "Phenomenon" header from a corner saved the draw for his team.

In the next match, Ronaldo first appeared in the leading team of Corinthians and again managed to score a goal. Thus, "Phenomenon" became the team's leading player, quickly settling in a familiar environment. Although the speed and reaction were no longer the same as at 20, Ronaldo still had a truly phenomenal scoring flair and skill, which, according to the saying, cannot be spent on drink, despite any number of discos in the nightclubs of Sao Paulo.

The belly "Zubastik" looked a little comical on the field but remained a real threat to the opponent's goal. The return semi-final of the Paulista League (São Paulo State Championship) on April 19, 2009, is indicative in this regard. Sao Paulo hosted Corinthians at home. In the first match, Corinthians scored a minimum victory of 2: 1, but the away goal left good chances for the hosts. By the 52nd minute of the meeting, Corinthians was leading 1: 0, but in general, the game was equal, and Sao Paulo could well recoup. After another attack of the hosts, along forward pass followed from the depth of the field.

32-year-old and about 90-kilogram Ronaldo ran around (!) The defender was the first on the ball, ahead of the released goalkeeper - 0: 2; Sao Paulo had virtually no chance.

In the final, Corinthians beat Santos - 3: 1 in the first leg (Ronaldo's double) and 1: 1 in return. Thus, Corinthians became the champion of the state of São Paulo for the first time in six years. Moreover - in that season, Corinthians managed to make a "golden double," putting champion medals in the won Brazilian Cup - that was the first Corinthians Cup since 2002 and the last at the moment. And the 2009 season can rightly be considered one of the most successful in the club's history. Ronaldo's merit in these achievements is excellent - 12 goals in 23 fights.

The following year was followed by a recession, both for Ronaldo and for Corinthians in general. "Phenomenon" again began to pursue injuries and regaining shape after each downtime became more and more difficult. Corinthians took only 4th place in the championship of the state of Sao Paulo and was eliminated from the 1/8 finals of the Brazilian Cup. In the summer of 2010, head coach Mano Menezes, under whose leadership Ronaldo shone a year earlier, led the Brazilian national team, and the coaching leapfrog began in Corinthians. When Ronaldo managed to appear on the field, he still showed the reflections of his genius, consistently upsetting the goalkeepers of the opposing teams. Still, it became harder and harder to do so.

As a result, in February 2011, after Corinthians was eliminated from the Copa Libertadores, Ronaldo announced his retirement from football, putting an end to a brilliant 18-year career. Ronaldo called the reason for this decision the constant recurrence of injuries and the discovered metabolic disorder, which can only be treated with the help of hormones, which are considered doping in professional football.

A little over a year in Corinthians - of course, not the period first remembered when people talk about Ronaldo's career. Nevertheless, for Corinthians fans, Ronaldo has become a legend for the club in such a short period, as his signing brought 35 goals in 69 games and brilliant marketing successes, expanding the army of Corinthians fans in Brazil and around the world.

On June 7, 2011, Ronaldo's touching farewell to football took place. Mano Menezes challenged the phenomenon (who hasn't played for the national team since 2006) to a friendly against Romania. Ronaldo spent 15 minutes on the field, saying goodbye to the leading group of his life.

Mano Menezes commented on Ronaldo's farewell to football: "Today is without a doubt one of the most special days that football and life, in general, have to offer. Even living in a world that is a whirlwind of events and madness, many people, including myself, have found time to remember the official departure of Ronaldo, "The Phenomenon," from football. Once he became known as Ronaldinho, we all know him as Ronaldo Luis Nazario da Lima. Many outstanding achievements have marked his career.

He is the top scorer in the history of the world championships (Miroslav Klose broke Ronaldo's record in 2014 - approx.), He was named the best player in the world three times. He played for some of the best clubs in the world and became an idol on the whole planet. We worked together for 18 very intense months in Corinthians, and his class impressed everyone. The results may have been better in the first year, but his immense desire to always win every game explains how he could return to the field after injury every time.

His excellent mindset helped him overcome health problems. From now on, he will be considered a legend of the game and will join many other legends of the past, who delighted us with their ingenious game. Fortunately for us, new Brazilian football stars are being replaced by new ones. Those who take the stage will learn from those who have played before, from players like Ronaldo."