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Ronaldo Nazario

Ronaldo beats Liverpool owners, buys Brazilian giants Cruzeiro

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Legendary former Brazil striker Ronaldo Nazario has beaten Liverpool owners Fenway Sports Group to the purchase of Brazilian giants Cruzeiro.

The Brazilian club, who have been champions of the South American footballing hotbed on four occasions, currently find themselves in the second tier and are in the process of attempting to restructure their finances.

They became the first team in the country to switch from a non-profit entity to a corporate one and have been trying to attract investors, with FSG among those hopeful of investing in the club.

However, the American group have been pipped to the deal by former striker Ronald, who celebrated the deal on Saturday and claimed he had “a lot to give back” to the club.

Ronaldo began his professional career with Cruzeiro in 1993, netting a remarkable 44 goals across 47 appearances for the club, spread across two campaigns when he was still a teenager.

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Ronaldo Nazario spent the first two years of his playing career at Cruzeiro

Ronaldo Nazario spent the first two years of his playing career at Cruzeiro

The striker propelled them to their first Copa do Brasil in 1993, and the Minas Gerais State Championship in 1994 – before being selected for Brazil at the 1994 World Cup, aged just 17 and being sold to PSV Eindhoven.

Ronaldo said on Saturday, confirming the deal, in quotes carried by Globo: “I am so happy to have completed this deal.

“I have a lot to give back to Cruzeiro and I want to take the club back to where they deserve to be.

“We have a lot of work ahead of us.

“I ask the fans to reconnect to the club, go to the stadium, because we are going to need a lot of strength and unity.

“We have a lot of work and ambition to make Cruzeiro great again. We have nothing to celebrate yet, but we have a lot of ambition.”

Cruzerio – along with Sao Paulo, Flamengo and Santos – were one of four Brazilian clubs never to be relegated from the top-flight, prior to their demotion in December 2019.

Ronaldo also owns the Spanish second division club Real Valladolid, after he bought 51 percent of the shares in 2018 in a deal worth £25million.

The striker won 18 trophies across his glorious career – which was heavily disrupted by serious knee injuries – including the World Cup titles in 1994 (where he did not play) and 2002.

Former superintendent of Cruzeiro, Aloisio Vasoncellos, had this weekend confirmed that FSG were among those who the club were anticipating receiving an offer from.

Vasoncellos had said: “The negotiation is international. There will be proposals from all sides.

“I support the proposal of the Bank of Boston, which has links with XP (Investments).

“They own Liverpool (England), which is the best organised and managed football club in Europe – they were even world champions and later runner-up in the world.

“This day marks this division, between the stage of disgrace, which has passed, fortunately, and the stage of grace, which looks forward.

“With a horizon, I believe, strong. Cruzeiro has assets, it has 10 million fans.”

FSG already count Liverpool and Boston Red Sox in their portfolio and have recently agreed a £656million deal to buy NHL outfit Pittsburgh Penguins.

The American ownership group which is fronted by John W Henry have held a controlling stake in Liverpool since 2010 when they agreed to takeover from controversial former owners George Gillett and Tom Hicks.

Under their ownership the Reds have lifted the League Cup, Champions League, the FIFA Club World Cup and the Premier League title – but they will not add the Brazilian giants to their ownership.

 

About Charles Igbinidu

Charles Igbinidu is a Public Relations practitioner in Lagos, Nigeria

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