Ronaldo exits Cruzeiro ownership with $117m sale to Pedro Figueiredo

April 30 – Brazilian legend Ronaldo has sold his stake in his boyhood club Cruzeiro following criticism over his management. Supermarket chain billionaire Pedro Figueiredo has acquired 100% of the club.

In a news conference Ronaldo also said he is planning to divest his 51% shareholding in Real Valladolid, the second-division Spanish club in his portfolio.

In 2021, Ronaldo acquired a controlling stake in the Belo Horizonte-based club, investing about $70 million. The World Cup winner is reportedly selling the club for almost $117 million as criticism from the club’s fan base has grown over his perceived lack of investment in the club.

Figueiredo said that it will take years to service the club’s debts, which at one point exceeded the R$1 billion ($193 million) mark. In Brazil, most major clubs labour under severe debts that often get restructured.

“Maybe some have exaggerated a little going against me, but this is irrelevant to me,” said Ronaldo.

“I know most fans are grateful to me and my team for putting Cruzeiro back in the national and international scene. My goal was reached, that was always the idea. To bring Cruzeiro back and, at the right time, give it to the right person…

“Cruzeiro was in intensive care when I came. I halved the debts, the revenue increased five times. I am leaving Cruzeiro in a comfortable hospital bedroom now.”

Cruzeiro has been relegated twice under Ronaldo and supporters have singled the Brazilian out for the high player turnover.

Figueiredo said: “I apologise on behalf of Cruzeiro fans. What some did to Ronaldo was not fair. He put his name in the business and he is upset with this situation. I hope tomorrow [the criticism] is not against me.”

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