Inside Ronaldo’s business empire with three football clubs, an entertainment agency and a lifetime Nike endorsement deal

The life of BRAZILIAN legend Ronaldo is currently being celebrated in a new upcoming documentary.

DAZN has created The Phenomenon: The Rise, Fall, and Redemption of Ronaldo, which celebrates the former striker’s incredible life in the game.

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Brazilian legend Ronaldo has gone from one of the game’s best players to one of its smartest entrepreneurs.Credit: EPA
In his heyday, Ronaldo shone at clubs like Barcelona.

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In his heyday, Ronaldo shone at clubs like Barcelona.Credit: Getty

His storied playing career saw him achieve World Cup glory and success at Barcelona, ​​Inter Milan and Real Madrid, to name just three of his seven clubs.

Sportswear giants Nike signed him to a lifetime contract worth £160m due to his brilliance on the pitch.

But the film also follows Ronaldo in his new guise: football club owner and business tycoon.

He is invested in three teams: Cruzeiro, Valladolid and Fort Lauderdale.

And under his ownership, Valladolid appear to have cemented their status in LaLiga, having won promotion last season.

While Cruzeiro has just achieved promotion to the Brazilian first division.

Ronaldo’s riches have seen him build a business empire over the years.

Football

Ronaldo apparently missed out on a football life when he retired in 2011.

Three years later, it was announced that he had become a minority owner of the NASL’s Fort Lauderdale Strikers, a late-1970s playground for Man Utd legend George Best.

Rumors spread that he would come out of retirement to play, although he never did.

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He also took them to China for pre-season, but when the league collapsed, so did Ronaldo’s dream.

In 2018, he became the majority owner of La Liga club Real Valladolid after buying a 51% majority stake in the club for £30 million.

In his introduction, he said: “I have gone through many stages in my training in football to prepare for this.

“Football is about passion. We want to build the best possible team to compete and at the same time give information about our management with transparency.”

Since then, he has poured more money into the project and expanded his ownership to 82 per cent as the club enjoys a new era.

After winning promotion to LaLiga last season, they currently sit in 15th place. He curried favor by buying all the players PS5s as a thank you.

Last year, Ronaldo went where his heart belongs and bought a majority stake in the Cruzeiro boyhood club.

He pledged a staggering £62m to the club, promising to “give back to Cruzeiro and get them to where they deserve to be”.

In 2014, Ronaldo got involved with the now-defunct Fort Lauderdale Strikers.

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In 2014, Ronaldo got involved with the now-defunct Fort Lauderdale Strikers.Credit: AP:Associated Press
Since 2018, Ronaldo has invested money in Valladolid, and has an 82 per cent stake in the club.

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Since 2018, Ronaldo has invested money in Valladolid, and has an 82 per cent stake in the club.Credit: EPA
Ronaldo celebrates Cruzeiro's promotion to Brazil's top flight

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Ronaldo celebrates Cruzeiro’s promotion to Brazil’s top flightCredit: EPA

A man of his word, his players duly delivered. They stormed into this year’s Serie B campaign, just nine months after he took ownership.

Celebrating the moment on social media, he wrote: “Still speechless, trying to assimilate everything we’ve been through in the last few months. Us. Blue Nation. SAF Cruzeiro.

“From the front office to the fans. From the technical committee to the bench. From behind the scenes to the camp.

“The fastest access in the history of Serie B was already our achievement: nine months into the club’s reconstruction project, the best possible result.

“Here comes the title that, of course, like you, I was already waiting for. But off the couch? With six rounds to go? Another record?

In the 2000s, Ronaldo ran a sports agency and handled Neymar's affairs.

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In the 2000s, Ronaldo ran a sports agency and handled Neymar’s affairs.Credit: AFP
Rafael Nadal's image rights in Brazil were also handled by Ronaldo's failed 9ine business

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Rafael Nadal’s image rights in Brazil were also handled by Ronaldo’s failed 9ine businessCredit: Getty

“For my life, one more chapter of football improvement. For our Fox, her right place: the elite of the sport. It’s Series A! He is a Champion! As I said a few days ago, let’s go for more! Much more! Let’s go together!”

failed companies

Not everything has been easy.

For his success in football, there have been failures in business. Maybe it’s better to stick to what you know.

He created 9ine, a sports marketing agency, in the 1990s.

Initially, it seemed to attract the right names, including Rafael Nadal, Neymar and Rubens Barrichello.

But, Ronaldo walked away from the business in 2013. In 2016, he ceased to exist.

Since 2017 he has been involved with the Brazilian branch of the Octagon agency.

“I believe in the Brazilian potential and I dream of taking sports and entertainment marketing to another level, betting on new sectors and formats,” he said.

Nike

Following in the footsteps of Michael Jordan, Ronaldo, who was once the Jordan of football, has a lifetime contract with Nike.

Like Michael Jordan, Ronaldo has a lifetime contract with sportswear giants Nike.

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Like Michael Jordan, Ronaldo has a lifetime contract with sportswear giants Nike.Credit: Getty – Contributor
In the 1990s, Ronaldo was constantly used by Nike in their television commercials.

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In the 1990s, Ronaldo was constantly used by Nike in their television commercials.Credit: Nike
Ronaldo's Mercurial boots are now collector's items and started a football trend

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Ronaldo’s Mercurial boots are now collector’s items and started a football trendCredit: Getty

It cost the American sportswear giants a fee said to be around £160m.

A bargain considering that their most famous boot is still powered by the R9 name.

Today, classic Nike Mercurial R9s cost up to £300 a pair, with Premier League footballers buying them from private sellers.

But in its heyday, you couldn’t move past a Nike ad featuring Ronaldo or the Brazil national team.

More recently, it is a different Ronaldo who has been the face of Nike’s commercial work.

But it was il fenomeno who started the madness.

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