Former Brazil striker Ronaldo announced on Saturday that he is purchasing Cruzeiro, the club where he made his professional debut but has spent the last two seasons languishing in Brazil’s Serie B.
“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.”
Ronaldo will spend 400 million reais (approximately 60 million euros) to become the club’s main stakeholder, according to Globoesporte.com.
He already owns a majority interest in Valladolid, a Spanish team that was demoted to the second tier last season.
Ronaldo, a native of Rio de Janeiro, joined Cruzeiro in Belo Horizonte when he was 16 years old and made his professional debut in 1993.
He scored 56 goals in 58 games for the club, earning him a call-up to the 1994 World Cup in the United States, where he won the tournament despite not playing a single minute.
Cruzeiro sold Ronaldo to PSV Eindhoven after the World Cup.
He went on to play for Barcelona, Inter Milan, Real Madrid, and AC Milan before joining Corinthians in Sao Paulo in 2011.
In the 2002 World Cup, he scored eight goals in seven games to help Brazil win the tournament for the second time.
Ronaldo won the Ballon D’Or twice and was named FIFA World Player of the Year three times.
Cruzeiro won the Brazilian league in 2013 and 2014, as well as the cup in 2017 and 2018, but were relegated at the end of the season in 2019.
Last season, the team was on the verge of relegation before finishing 14th in Brazil’s second level.