Ronaldo de Darlon Manickchand : From Rags to Riches

Darlon Diego ManickchandCorrespondent IFebruary 20, 2008

We all know the story.  On September 18, 1976, Dona Sônia dos Santos Barata bore a baby boy.

However, whether the child's father, Nélio Názario, blew the money he was given to register his son's birth, or never had it in the first place (stories differ from source to source), the birth of Ronaldo Názario de Lima was not registered until four days later, making today, September 22, his birthday.

As the afore-read anecdote suggests, Ronaldo was born into poverty, a hut in one of Rio de Janeiro's poor neighborhoods, Bento Ribeiro, becoming his first home.

He spent his early childhood kicking a football—or any conceivable substitute—around with friends, imitating the great Zico, and dreaming of saving up enough cruzeiros (the Brazilian currency at the time) to purchase the distinguished red and black-hooped jersey of Flamengo, the team his idol represented.