El Phenomenon: The career of Ronaldo

Published 7:04 AM ET, Fri September 14, 2012
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Ronaldo arrived at the 1998 World Cup in France as the most talked about footballer in the world. The 22-year-old scored four goals during the tournament, but confusion and controversy reigned before and after Brazil's 3-0 defeat to France in the final. Ronaldo was initially left out of the starting XI for the Paris match, before being reinstated at the last minute. He was largely anonymous during the match, with the exact details of what occured prior to kick-off still unknown. AFP/Getty Images
Redemption came four years later. Alongside the attacking talents of Rivaldo and Ronaldinho, he found the net six times as Brazil romped through to a final match with Germany. In Yokohama's International Stadium, Ronaldo scored two second-half goals to give Brazil a 2-0 win and finally exorcise the ghosts of Paris four years earlier. It was Ronaldo's second World Cup triumph, having been part of Brazil's winning squad in 1994. AFP/Getty Images
Ronaldo has scored more goals in FIFA World Cup matches than any other player in history. With his trademark quick step-over and a simple finish against Ghana in a round of 16 match in 2006, he scored his 15th and final World Cup goal to overhaul the legendary German Gerd Muller. AFP/Getty Images
Ronaldo joined Real Madrid from Inter Milan in 2002. After waiting until October to make his debut for Madrid, he ended the season with 23 league goals as Los Blancos took the Spanish La Liga title. AFP/Getty Images
During his career Ronaldo was hampered by chronic knee injuries. After scoring a stunning hat-trick in a European Champions League game against Manchester United and with Real on track for a treble, Ronaldo again succumbed to injury. In 2007, Ronaldo was sold to AC Milan having scored 104 goals in 177 matches for Real. AFP/Getty Images
After a year with AC Milan and two with Corinthians in his native Brazil, Ronaldo announced his retirement from football in February 2011. In addition to his injuries, Ronaldo was also suffering with a thyroid problem which made it difficult for him to control his weight. AFP/Getty Images