Real Madrid paid a whopping €46 million or around $53 million for Brazilian football legend Ronaldo Luís Nazário de Lima, also known as R9, in 2002. At the time, the transfer fee made him the most expensive player in history, surpassing the previous record set by Hernán Crespo’s move from Parma to Lazio.
The move to Real Madrid was a significant milestone in Ronaldo’s career and marked his return to Europe after four years in Italy with Inter Milan and AC Milan. The Brazilian striker had already established himself as one of the best footballers in the world, having won two FIFA World Cups, the UEFA Cup, the UEFA Super Cup, and the Ballon d’Or twice by that time.
Real Madrid made the move for Ronaldo in the summer of 2002, breaking the transfer record in the process. The Spanish giants outbid Manchester United to secure the star striker’s signature, as the Red Devils were also keen on bringing the Brazilian to Old Trafford.
Ronaldo’s move to Real Madrid was seen as a significant coup for the club, as he was considered one of the best players in the world at the time. The Brazilian striker’s arrival boosted the Galacticos’ squad, which already featured the likes of Zinedine Zidane, Luis Figo, Roberto Carlos, and David Beckham.
Real Madrid fans welcomed Ronaldo with open arms, and his first season was a huge success as he scored 23 goals in 32 appearances in La Liga. During his five-year spell at the club, he went on to score 104 goals in 177 appearances in all competitions, helping the team to two La Liga titles and a UEFA Champions League trophy.
However, Ronaldo’s time at Real Madrid was also marred by injuries, which limited his playing time. He missed most of the 2003-04 season after sustaining a serious knee injury, which forced him to undergo surgery. He returned to action the following season but struggled with fitness issues, which affected his performances on the pitch.
Despite his injury troubles, Ronaldo remains one of the greatest footballers of all time, and his move to Real Madrid was a landmark moment in his illustrious career. The €46 million transfer fee was a significant sum at the time, but it proved to be a worthy investment for the Spanish giants, as Ronaldo contributed immensely to the team’s success during his time at the club.