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Every record Ronaldo broke during his career

Jamie Spencer
Ronaldo at Barcelona
Ronaldo at Barcelona / Claudio Villa/Getty Images
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Ronaldo was a defining player of his generation and will go down as one of the greatest players of all time. He made his name in Brazil at 17 with Cruzeiro, before pursuing a career in Europe and setting Dutch football alight with PSV Eindhoven.

Ronaldo reached even greater heights with Barcelona and also made a big impact at Inter, before knee injuries put his career on hold. He completed a miraculous comeback with Brazil at the 2002 World Cup and went on to become one of Real Madrid’s Galacticos.

So to celebrate his career, after reminiscing while watching the wonderful DAZN documentary titled 'Ronaldo: El Presidente', we decided to take a look at every record R9 broke throughout his career.


Youngest Ballon d’Or winner

Ronaldo Nazario - Soccer Player
Ronaldo was 21 when he won the 1997 Ballon d'Or / Claudio Villa/Getty Images

Ronaldo had not long turned 21 when he won the Ballon d’Or for the first time in 1997, recognising his phenomenal 1996/97 season with Barcelona that produced 47 goals in 49 appearances, the Copa del Rey and a European trophy. He was also prolific for Brazil, won the 1997 Copa America, earned a world record transfer to Inter and had already started setting Serie A alight.


First South American Ballon d’Or winner

No Brazilian had won the Ballon d'Or before Ronaldo
No Brazilian had won the Ballon d'Or before Ronaldo / PEDRO UGARTE/Getty Images

As well as the youngest winner in history, Ronaldo was also the first ever South American winner of the Ballon d’Or. It was previously only open to European players until 1995, but the Brazilian was well placed to take a first win for his continent two years later.

In close to three decades since then it has been dominated by players from South America.


First two-time (and three-time) FIFA World Player of the Year

Ronaldo won three FIFA World Player of the Year awards
Ronaldo won three FIFA World Player of the Year awards / GERARD JULIEN/Getty Images

In the 19-year history of the FIFA World Player of the Year award, Ronaldo was the first player to win it twice, doing so consecutively in 1996 and 1997. He was later matched by Zinedine Zidane but was then the first two win it three times when he was recognised again in 2002.

Zidane won his third award in 2003, with Ronaldinho the only other player to even win two.


Only world record transfer in consecutive years

Ronaldo moved for world record transfer fees in both 1996 & 1997
Ronaldo moved for world record transfer fees in both 1996 & 1997 / Mike Hewitt/Getty Images

Only four players in history have broken the world transfer record on two occasions and Ronaldo is one of them. Early 20th century Englishmen Alf Commone and David Jack were the first, then Diego Maradona in the 1980s when he joined Barcelona and Napoli.

Ronaldo became the most expensive player of all time for the first time in 1996 when he joined Barcelona from PSV Eindhoven for the equivalent of $19.5m and then broke his own record when he moved to Inter for the equivalent of $27m just a year later.


Brazil’s leading World Cup scorer

Ronaldo has scored more World Cup goals than any other Brazilian
Ronaldo has scored more World Cup goals than any other Brazilian / Alessandro Sabattini/Getty Images

Ronaldo scored twice as Brazil won the 2002 World Cup final to equal Pele’s national team record of 12 goals in the competition. His first goal at the 2006 World Cup four years later then broke the record that had stood for 36 years by that point. He would finish on 15 World Cup goals.

Ronaldo is also one of only three players to have scored three or more goals at three different World Cup tournaments alongside Jurgen Klinsmann and Miroslav Klose.


All-time World Cup top scorer (since broken)

Ronaldo became the World Cup's all-time top scorer in 2006
Ronaldo became the World Cup's all-time top scorer in 2006 / ANTONIO SCORZA/Getty Images

Ronaldo’s tally of 15 World Cup goals was a new competition record when he scored the 15th goal in a 2006 group match against Ghana, breaking the old mark set by German legend Gerd Muller.

He had scored four times at the 1998 tournament, eight in 2002 and three in 2006.

The record was broken in 2014 by Mirsolav Klose, who extended it to 16.


Most World Cup games scored in

Ronaldo scored in 11 different World Cup games
Ronaldo scored in 11 different World Cup games / ANTONIO SCORZA/Getty Images

What is extremely impressive about Ronaldo’s World Cup goal tally is how spread out it was. He didn’t score flurries of goals in only a handful of games, rather he scored at least once in 11 separate World Cup games, which is a competition record.

It highlights his longevity and consistency when it came to World Cup tournaments.


Barcelona’s single season top scorer in La Liga (since broken)

Ronaldo set a new single season La Liga goal record for Barcelona
Ronaldo set a new single season La Liga goal record for Barcelona / Alessandro Sabattini/Getty Images

Ronaldo scored 34 goals in La Liga during his sole season with Barcelona in 1996/97, which was a new club record for a single season, breaking the previous record of 30 set by Martin in 1942/43 and equalled by Romario in 1993/94.

Ronaldo’s single season record was later equalled by Lionel Messi in 2009/10 and then broken by the Argentine two years after that when he scored 50 times in the league alone.


First Barcelona player to win European Golden Shoe

Ronaldo won the European Golden Shoe at Barcelona
Ronaldo won the European Golden Shoe at Barcelona / Claudio Villa/Getty Images

Before Ronaldo in 1996/97, no Barcelona had ever won the European Golden Shoe as the continent’s leading goalscorer in a domestic league.

His triumph with 34 goals that season was the first of a revamped points-based format.

Lionel Messi (six) and Luis Suarez have since also won it as Barcelona players.


First Brazilian player to win European Golden Shoe

No other Brazilian had won the European Golden Shoe before Ronaldo
No other Brazilian had won the European Golden Shoe before Ronaldo / Claudio Villa/Getty Images

Not only was Ronaldo the first Barcelona player to land the Golden Shoe award, he was also the first ever Brazilian. In fact, two-time winner Mario Jardel is the only fellow Brazilian to have joined him.


First to play for both sides in El Clasico & Derby della Madonnina

Ronaldo played in derby clashes for Real Madrid, Barcelona, AC Milan & Inter
Ronaldo played in derby clashes for Real Madrid, Barcelona, AC Milan & Inter / LLUIS GENE/Getty Images

Plenty of players have turned out for both Real Madrid and Barcelona, or both AC Milan and Inter, but Ronaldo was the first to play in El Clasico and Derby della Madonnina for all four historic clubs.


First to score for both sides in El Clasico & Derby della Madonnina

Ronaldo also scored in derby clashes for Real Madrid, Barcelona, AC Milan & Inter
Ronaldo also scored in derby clashes for Real Madrid, Barcelona, AC Milan & Inter / Claudio Villa/Getty Images

As well playing in both sides of both huge derby matches, Ronaldo was the first player to have scored on all four sides of the intense rivalries.

He started that run when he scored for Barcelona against Real Madrid in May 1997 and completed it feat when he scored in the Derby della Madonnina for Milan against Inter 10 years later. He only scored nine goals for Milan altogether, but one was against their fiercest of rivals.


Ronaldo is currently the focus of the brand new documentary series, ‘Ronaldo- El Presidente’. Having taken his talents from the pitch to the boardroom, the show follows his life as owner and president of Real Valladolid. You can watch the six-part series exclusively on DAZN now.


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