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Ronaldo selling stake in Brazilian club Cruzeiro

Written by on April 30, 2024

Former striker Ronaldo has agreed to sell his stake in Brazilian club Cruzeiro.

In December 2021, the 47-year-old former Ballon d’Or winner bought a controlling 90 per cent stake at Cruzeiro, the club where he started his career, for $70million (£62.2m).

Ronaldo’s shares were through his company Tara Sports Brasil, but the club confirmed on Monday that they had agreed to sell the stake to BPW Sports company, led by Pedro Lourenco — owner of the supermarket chain Supermercados BH.

Under Ronaldo’s ownership, the club returned to the Brazilian top-flight and their debt of $195m was reportedly cleared.

A Cruzeiro club statement read: “(Ronaldo) led an administration that brought a new perspective to the club, implementing professional management and a governance structure in line with international best practice.”

Cruzeiro added that the administration had ensured the club’s “credibility had been restored”, allowing them to maximise sponsorship opportunities and revenue.

Ronaldo will continue on the Brazilian club’s board of directors and added that it was a day of “mixed emotions” for him to sell his ownership stake.

Ronaldo began his professional career with Cruzeiro in 1993, netting 44 goals across 47 appearances for the club spread when he was a teenager before being sold to PSV Eindhoven in 1994.

When confirming his sale of his stake in Cruzeiro, Ronaldo added that Spanish second division Real Valladolid, where he has a majority ownership, “will be next”.

The former striker, who starred in Spanish football for both Barcelona and Real Madrid, bought a 51 per cent controlling stake in Valladolid in the summer of 2018.

The club have had turbulent fortunes under his ownership, suffering relegations from La Liga in 2021 and 2023, although they are currently on course for promotion back to the top-flight — they sit second in the standings with five rounds of league matches remaining this season.

Ronaldo’s comment suggesting he may also sell Valladolid was made with a smile on his face and his current plans are to remain as the club’s owner, securing promotion back to La Liga and consolidating their top-flight status.

Ronaldo’s comments won’t help reputation in Valladolid

Analysis from The Athletic’s Spanish football correspondent Dermot Corrigan

Ronaldo’s comments were widely reported in Spain as fact, so that it was just an offhand remark will not help the Brazilian’s reputation among a Valladolid fanbase which was thrilled when he arrived as owner in 2018 but has gradually grown disillusioned.

Since 2018, Valladolid have had two successful battles against relegation from Primera, they went down in 2021, bounced back up in 2022, and were relegated again last summer.

Significant investment in players which supporters hoped for has not really materialised, and there were protests last summer after relegation was followed by the sale of better players including Canada international Cyle Larin and Ecuador winger Gonzalo Plata.

Still, Valladolid have the third biggest budget in Segunda this season. With five games remaining, Uruguayan coach Paulo Pezzolano’s rebuilt side are currently joint top of the Segunda table, having hit form with four consecutive victories.

There has also been concern in the Castilian city about Ronaldo’s commitment and understanding of the club — some feel he is still more associated with his former club Real Madrid, while an attempt to modernise the club’s badge also caused issues with local fans.

On Ronaldo’s side there has been frustration over the relationship with the local city hall, and the club’s plans to invest and reform its municipally-owned Jose Zorilla stadium.

Sources close to Ronaldo maintain that the aim is still to gain promotion and stabilise in the top flight — that his sale of Cruzeiro has no bearing on his plans for Valladolid. Time will tell how the situation develops.

(David S. Bustamante/Soccrates/Getty Images)

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