Brazilian soccer superstar Ronaldo is now part-owner of the Fort Lauderdale Strikers.
Ronaldo, who is considered to be one of the greatest footballers of all time, has acquired approximately 25% of the Strikers and becomes part of the new ownership of the club, joining Brazilian investors Paulo Cesso, Ricardo Geromel and Rafael Bertani who acquired the team in September. Financial details were not disclosed.
With the addition of Ronaldo to the ownership group, this is a huge coup for both the Fort Lauderdale Strikers and NASL especially coupled with the news from earlier this week where Spanish superstar Raul was unveiled as the newest signing by the New York Cosmos.
Ronaldo, who retired from playing in 2011, is only one of three men who has won the FIFA World Player of the Year award three times or more (joining Zinedine Zidane and Leo Messi). Ronaldo has also won the Ballon d’Or twice, as well as winning the World Cup in 1994 and 2002, winning the Golden Ball Award in the 1998 World Cup (where Brazil lost in the final) and scoring his 15th World Cup goal in the 2006 World Cup, which was a World Cup record.
As a footballer, Ronaldo played with Barcelona, Real Madrid, PSV, Inter Milan, AC Milan, Cruzeiro and Corinthians.
At age 38, you have to wonder whether Ronaldo will be tempted to return to playing professional soccer especially given that fellow professionals such as Frank Lampard (36) and the aforementioned Raul (37) are still playing competitive soccer.
In addition to convincing Ronaldo to become a part-owner of the team and featuring Brazilian owners, the club’s ties with Brazil also feature Corinthians (Ronaldo’s former club) who have agreed to hold preseason training at Fort Lauderdale’s Lockhart Stadium from Jan 7 to 13.
The Fort Lauderdale Strikers play in the North American Soccer League (NASL), which is a present-day revival of the league where Pelé played back in the glory days of soccer in the US. In fact, a match between the Strikers and the New York Cosmos drew 77,691, a record which still stands for a league game between two professional US soccer teams.