Ronaldo Thinking About Playing for the Fort Lauderdale Strikers
It was recently announced that retired Brazilian soccer legend Ronaldo would be part of the ownership group that purchased the Fort Lauderdale Strikers.
With his World Cup-winning pedigree and well-known grin, Ronaldo is expected to lend his name to the North American Soccer League and the Strikers, which is never a bad thing from a marketing standpoint.
But the 38-year-old apparently still has the itch to lace up the soccer boots and get out there and play, having recently expressed a desire to maybe suit up as a Striker and play for the team.
Like, for real.
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Ronaldo, the two-time World Cup winner and onetime best player on the planet, has not only grown older but has apparently also put on the pounds. Ronaldo, who began having a weight problem in the latter part of his playing career, has visibly ballooned.
But he says he feels good and plans to begin training.
"I will try to play some games," he said with his trademark smile. "This year I want to train a lot. The last three years I didn't because I was too busy in other stuff... Maybe if we get to the final and I'm feeling good, why not? I will put my name in the NASL as an option."
There was a time when this kind of news would be met with utter glee and excitement, on par with when LeBron James announced he was "taking [his] talents to South Beach" for the Miami Heat in 2011.
For those who might be unaware, Ronaldo was an absolute monster on the pitch, leading Brazil to two World Cup victories and scoring goals in gobs for powerhouse international clubs Barcelona, Inter Milan, and Real Madrid. He currently stands as the number-two all-time goal scorer in World Cup history.
"The Fort Lauderdale Strikers is a team with history, tradition," he said, per SI. "Soccer in America is growing, so I think it's a great opportunity."
In a word, Ronaldo is a legend. But he's rather large, and he's also old. Some purists might see his suiting up for the Strikers without a proper tryout just because he's a part-owner as disrespectful to the game.
If I'm the NASL, I do everything I can to prevent Ronaldo from actually playing in league games.
— Jason Davis (@davisjsn) January 14, 2015
Either way, Ronaldo, who reportedly bought 10 percent of the team, plans to spend a lot of time in South Florida, promoting the Strikers and soccer.
He has plans to start a youth soccer academy and also says he intends to spend the bulk of his time between his home in Säo Paulo and his new digs in Fort Lauderdale.
He may not be able to play at this level anymore, but the idea is intriguing, even for the purists.
Both the Strikers and the NASL could use the publicity of having Ronaldo out on the pitch, even at this stage of his life. Just this past season, the Strikers made it to the NASL championship match, with nary anyone noticing (spoiler alert: They lost to the San Antonio Scorpions).
Having Ronaldo on the pitch in those traditional bee-stripe kits for the Strikers would actually draw a lot of attention and even sell tickets.
Even old and fat Ronaldo is a better draw than anything the Strikers currently have to offer.
(Although we highly doubt he'll ever make this list.)
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