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20th May 2020

O Fenômeno: The story of Ronaldo’s brief but brilliant whirlwind at Barcelona



Why did Ronaldo leave Barcelona after one brilliant season?

Ronaldo Luís Nazário de Lima arrived in Europe from Brazil in 1994, joining Eredivisie side PSV Eindhoven from Cruzeiro. He scored almost a goal a game at PSV, and was awarded the 1996 FIFA World Player of the Year award at 20 years old, becoming the youngest player to win the award.

He joined Barcelona after two years at PSV and would once again break records, becoming the youngest winner of the Ballon d’Or in 1997. An absolute phenomenon at Camp Nou, Ronaldo would once again score at an astonishing rate.

He finished the 1996/97 season with 47 goals in 49 appearances, but as quickly as he had arrived, he was gone. Despite his brilliance, the Catalans would miss out on the league title, largely in part to his absence.

This is the story of Ronaldo’s single, almost perfect season at Barcelona, and why it ended so abruptly.