In 1993, Ronaldo signed his first professional contract with Brazilian club Cruzeiro, but made only 14 appearances for them (and scoring 12 goals) before transferring to PSV Eindhoven in 1994 for a fee of $6 million. He rose to prominence with Eindhoven, scoring 54 goals in 57 appearances. He was the Eredivisie's top scorer in his first season and helped propel Eindhoven to the Dutch Cup trophy in his second season.
Ronaldo hasn't stayed particularly long with any club, leaving PSV after two seasons for Barcelona. He stayed at Barça for the 1996-97 season, then moved to Inter (1997-2002), Real Madrid (2002-07), and Milan (2007-08 ). Along the way, he earned numerous team honors, including the UEFA Cup Winners' Cup (1997, with Barça), UEFA Cup (1998, with Inter), and La Liga title (2003 and 2007, with Real). He also led Brazil to the World Cup title in 1994 and 2002.
Ronaldo claimed an ample supply of individual awards as well, including the European Golden Boot (1996-97), UEFA Most Valuable Player (1997-98), World Cup Golden Ball (1998), and the Ballon d'Or (1997, 2002). He is one of only two people (the other being Zinedine Zidane) to be named the FIFA World Player of the Year three times (1996, 1997, 2002).
In February 2008, Ronaldo suffered a potentially career-ending knee injury while playing for Milan. Released at the end of the season, Ronaldo trained with Brazilian side Flamengo during his recovery before controversially signing with rivals Corinthians in 2009, where he remained until his retirement in 2011.