Ronaldo, the Brazilian soccer legend, has signed on to become a minority owner of the NASL’s Fort Lauderdale Strikers, SI.com has learned.
“He’ll be extremely involved in everything,” says Strikers managing partner Ricardo Geromel, one of three Brazilian principal owners who purchased the team in September. An NASL league source who has seen Ronaldo’s signed agreement confirmed his role with the team.
One of the greatest players of all time, Ronaldo, 38, won two World Cups (in 1994 and 2002), scored 15 World Cup goals and is one of three players to have won the FIFA World Player of the Year award three or more times (along with Lionel Messi and Zinédine Zidane).
- SI VAULT: Ronaldo leads Brazil to fifth World Cup with 2002 masterclass
Nicknamed "Il Fenomeno" (The Phenomenon), Ronaldo retired from playing in 2011 and served as an ambassador for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil. During his storied career, he played for Cruzeiro, PSV, Barcelona, Inter Milan, Real Madrid and AC Milan before finishing at Corinthians in his native country.
The NASL is the second tier in the U.S. Soccer pyramid, which has no promotion and relegation. The New York Cosmos, another NASL team, presented its new signing, Spanish great Raúl, on Tuesday.
GALLERY: Rare Photos of Ronaldo
Rare Photos of Brazil Soccer Great Ronaldo
Ronaldo chose to join PSV after the 1994 World Cup, for which he was selected despite being just 17, but did not play. Ronaldo scored 30 league goals in his first season in the Netherlands.
Ronaldo presents his FC Barcelona jersey to fellow Brazilian Alex Barros at the Montmelo circuit outside Barcelone in 1996. This was only the beginning of Ronaldo's interest in racing. Since 2005, Ronaldo has been the co-owner of A1 Team Brazil, a Brazilian Grand Prix racing team.
Ronaldo of Barcellona is escorted by Italian policemen out of Pisa's airport in 1997. Barcellona played Fiorentina of Florence in a Champion's League semifinal soccer match held in Florence.
Ronaldo cuddles up to former girlfriend Susana Werner in 1997.
Ronaldo, accompanied by his mother, Sonia Nazario De Lima, presents Pope John Paul II with a Brazilian national team jersey and an Inter Milan jersey at the Vatican in 1998.
French goalkeeper Fabien Barthez charges into Ronaldo during the 1998 World Cup final between France and Brazil. France won 3-0.
Ronaldo stands dejected after the 1998 World Cup final with his silver medal.
Ronaldo gives the thumbs-up on a tour of the falls at Foz do Iguacu National Park, Brazil, in June 1999. The Brazilian national soccer team was training nearby in preparation for the Copa America tournament.
Rivaldo and Ronaldo lounge by the pool in Buenos Aires. The two played on the Brazil national team from 1994 to 2003 and the tandem scored 96 goals in 171 combined appearances.
Ronald and his then wife, former Brazilian soccer player Milen Domingues, make a toast during their wedding in 1999.
Ronaldo tries his hand at golf during the 2001 Pro-Am at the Brazilian Open in San Paolo.
F1 racer Michael Schumacher of Germany douses Ronaldo with champagne after a friendly match for UNICEF in Rio de Janeiro in 2001.
Ronaldo, sporting his famous triangle haircut, celebrates on the pitch after Brazil beat Germany 2-0 to win its fifth World Cup in 2002.
Ronaldo honors Brazil in the 2004 Olympics by carrying the Olympic Torch through Rio de Janeiro.
Ronaldo celebrates with Real Madrid teammate David Beckham after he scored a goal during their La Liga match against Levante at the Santiago Bernabeu in 2004.
Ronaldo, donning a sleek pinstripe suit, attends the GQ Awards 2004 in Madrid with his then girlfriend Daniela Cicarelli.
Real Madrid's Ronaldo and David Beckham chat during a lunch in 2004.
Brazilian soccer fans will forever remember Ronaldo (pictured here in 2005) for his fun-loving antics, dominant scoring ability, mesmerizing dribbling skills and leadership on two World Cup-winning teams.
Ronaldo joined AC Milan, the sixth of his seven career teams, in February 2007. Here, he poses with AC-Milan vice-president Adriano Galliani.
Ronaldo joined the Corinthians in March 2009. The stint was the last professional team of his soccer career. After the Corinthians were eliminated from the 2011 Copa Libertadores de America, Ronaldo announced his retirement while citing nagging injuries that have stalled his career.
Ronaldo presents Hugh Jackman with a Corinthians jersey embroidered with the name Wolverine and the number 'X' to promote Jackman's movie 'X-Men Origins: Wolverine.'
In a long standing soccer tradition, Ronaldo exchanges his Corinthian's jersey with Israel's president Shimon Peres' Israel national soccer team jersey.
Ronaldo joins Rogerio Flausino of Jota Quest, a Brazilian rock band, on stage at the Monange Dream Fashion Tour in Rio de Janeiro in April 2010.
Ronaldo leaves Nello's restaurant on the Upper East Side of New York City in 2011.
Michael Phelps, Natalis Chan and Ronaldo attend a press conference at the Mission Hills Golf Club in Haikou, China, in 2012.
Ronaldo Nazario de Lima and then girlfriend Paula Morais walk along the streets of Madrid in 2013.
Ronaldo attends the 2013 European Poker Tour in Barcelona.
Ronaldo waves from a float as he takes part in Gavioes da Fiel samba school performance during the second night of carnival parade at the Sambadrome in Sao Paulo, Brazil, in March 2014. Gavioes da Fiel's theme for the carnival was an homage to Ronaldo.
FIFA President Sepp Blatter welcomes Ronaldo at the 2014 Football for Hope Festival at Vila Olimpica Mane Garrincha Caju in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
Ronaldo attends the men's final on day 15 of the 2015 French Open 2015 at Roland Garros Stadium in Paris, France.
Ronaldo brings out the trophy ahead of the final at the 2017 FIFA Confederations Cup in Russia.