On This Day In 1997, Ronaldo Won His First Ballon D’Or
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On This Day In 1997, Ronaldo Won His First Ballon D’Or

On this day in 1997, Ronaldo Nazario won the first of two Ballon d’Ors in his glittering career.

R9 had joined Inter Milan from Barcelona in a then-world record fee just a few months prior and scooped the award by an absolute landslide – garnering a whopping 222 points, 154 more than runner-up Predrag Mijatović of Atletico Madrid and 159 more than his future teammate Zinedine Zidane.

Ronaldo, having only recently turned 21, became the youngest ever winner of the coveted award and the record is still yet to be beaten.

The legendary Brazilian scored a silly 47 goals in 49 games in the 1996/97 season for Barcelona before departing to Inter for €28 million and went on to claim his second Ballon d’Or five years later when he returned to Spain with Real Madrid.

At club level, O Fenomeno scored 352 goals, as well as bagging 62 in 98 for the Selecao – who he won the World Cup with in 2002.

Neymar may be the most expensive player in football history at present after his €222 million (£196 million) transfer to PSG, but if you take inflation into account, it’s the Brazilian sensation that came before him who is at the top of the pile.

A study from Play Ratings uncovered that, with fluctuating currency being considered, Ronaldo’s big-money move from Barcelona to Inter Milan would be worth a staggering €433 million in the current market.

Josh Lawless

Josh is a writer who specialises in football and wrestling. He has been published by Curzon Ashton FC, Late Tackle, Manchester City FC, The Mirror, Read Man City and Manchester Evening News. He provides coverage of professional wrestling and has interviewed some of the biggest names in the field – including the first UK interview with The Hardy Boyz after their return to WWE. He has never sported a pair of Lonsdale Slip-ons, contrary to reports.

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