FORT LAUDERDALE– The Fort Lauderdale Strikers announced today (Dec 11th) that world-renowned Brazilian soccer legend Ronaldo Luís Nazário de Lima, simply known as Ronaldo, is joining the club in an ownership role.
Ronaldo is the latest in a long line of legendary sports figures to be part of the Strikers organization. World Cup winners Gordon Banks and Gerd Müller, European Footballer of the Year George Best, South Florida sports pioneer and original Strikers owner Joe Robbie, South American Footballers of the Year Teófilo “Nene” Cubillas and Elias Figueroa, among others, have all contributed to the Strikers legacy.
Ronaldo and the rest of the ownership group are committed to building on the history of the Strikers, South Florida’s only professional soccer team. The Fort Lauderdale Strikers play in the North American Soccer League (NASL), which is a present-day revival of the league in which Pelé played back in the glory days of soccer in the U.S. In fact, a match between the Strikers and the New York Cosmos drew 77,691, a record which still stands for a league game between two professional US soccer teams.
“I will be very involved with the management of the team and have already started to make introductions that will certainly help us to turn the Strikers into a global powerhouse. There are no doubts that the beautiful game is growing exponentially in the U.S., and I guarantee you that the NASL will play a key role in the rise of professional soccer here,” Ronaldo said.
Ronaldo is widely considered to be one of the greatest players in the history of the game. His illustrious playing career included stints at some of the world’s largest clubs, including Real Madrid, Barcelona, Corinthians, Cruzeiro, PSV Eindhoven, Inter Milan and AC Milan.
Ronaldo is the second-highest goalscorer in Brazilian national soccer team history, behind only Pelé. His international career spanned four World Cups, in which he scored 15 goals, breaking former Strikers star Gerd Müller’s tournament record. His trophy case includes two FIFA World Cup titles, three FIFA World Player of the Year awards and two Ballon d’Or honors.
“I can’t overstate what an honor and pleasure is to have ‘The Phenomenon’ as a partner of the Fort Lauderdale Strikers. Not only is he widely regarded as the ultimate Striker and the best number 9 ever, but he also sees where the world’s most global sport is heading with astonishing clarity. Ronaldo will play a pivotal role in making sure the future arrives first at the Strikers. History will be made here in South Florida!” said Strikers Managing Partner Ricardo Geromel.
Ronaldo has strong ties to NASL stars including former club teammate Raúl, Real Madrid’s all-time leading scorer, who is now involved with the New York Cosmos.
“I could not be happier to be part of both the Strikers, a team with an extraordinary legacy, and the NASL, with its rich history and tremendous growth potential. I am confident that my experience, vision, and work will be instrumental in helping to elevate the Strikers, the NASL, and soccer in the U.S. to the highest level. South Florida, where there are so many soccer fans, is the ideal place for my Strikers,” Ronaldo added.
Since retiring from competition in 2011, Ronaldo has led a successful second career as a partial owner of 9ine Sports and Entertainment, whose clients include soccer superstar Neymar Jr., mixed martial arts fighter Anderson Silva, brands Duracell and Brahma Futebol and others.
The Strikers 2015 season will begin in April. Sixteen-game season ticket packages are on sale now starting at $145.