The 42nd Ballon d'Or winner - Ronaldo

Forty secondeat Ballon d'Or winner - Ronaldo

The Brazilian with a brilliant performance in 1997

The major change in the rules for participation in the Ballon d'Or voting in 1995 led to the inclusion of players from outside Europe in the competition. After the success of George Weah then, in 1996 a European again won the prize. This is Matthias Zammer. A year later, however, it is also time for the first South American to reach the first position. Brazilian striker Ronaldo Nazario managed to win a huge number of votes from journalists.

The Barcelona player, who joined Inter in the summer, took the top spot with 222 points from 47 people who voted for him. Only four of the others didn't place him in the top five to score points. Thirty-eight people from the special panel of journalists, representatives of the UEFA member countries, put Ronaldo Luiz Nazario de Lima in the first position. Five think he deserves to be second and four put him in third position. He won with a convincing lead over second-placed Predrag Mijatovic, who collected 68 points from two firsts, ten second, four third, two fourth and two fifth places. Real Madrid's Yugoslavian footballer is 154 points behind the first place, which is a record difference between the first and second in the Ballon d'Or standings.

In third place and with only five points less than Mijatovic is Juventus midfielder Zinedine Zidane. The top five is completed by Arsenal's Dennis Bergkamp and the winner's compatriot but Real Madrid-based full-back Roberto Carlos. In 1997, a Bulgarian competitor entered the ranking. This is Stuttgart midfielder Krasimir Balakov, who collects 11 points from one second, one third, one fourth and two fifth places. He shared the fifteenth position with Italian Gianfranco Zola. Balakov managed to overtake players such as Alessandro Del Piero, David Beckham, Alan Shearer, Didier Deschamps and Clarence Seedorf.

Ronaldo has made incredible progress in his career since his transfer to Barcelona. The Brazilian's adaptation didn't take long and he managed to get to 47 goals during the campaign in all competitions. Of these, 34 have been scored in La Liga, where, however, the Blaugranas remain second behind champions Real Madrid. Barça, however, is the most successful team with 102 goals, and the PSV Eindhoven striker has made a significant contribution to this. Since the start of the calendar year, he has made four consecutive appearances in the championship, after which he failed to help the Catalans in a run of poor results, but he managed a hat-trick in a 4-1 win over Zaragoza. Between the end of March and the end of May, he scored in 11 out of 12 matches, leading Barcelona to victory in El Clasico, scoring a hat-trick in a 5-2 away win over Atletico Madrid and some other important goals that keep Barcelona in the title race .

In the other competitions, Ronaldo also made a big contribution. In the Copa del Rey tournament, there is one goal against Real Madrid, a hat-trick against Atlético and another goal against Las Palmas in the semi-finals. In the final won against Betis after extra time, the Brazilian did not score, but his six goals make him the highest scorer for Barca in this tournament as well. On the European stage, the Catalans play in the national cup winners' tournament, which was also won after beating PSG 1-0 in the final. Ronaldo scored the winning goal. He scored four more goals in the competition, two of which came in 1996, and remains two goals clear of top scorer Robbie Fowler.

In the summer of 1997, there were two significant events for Ronaldo. The first is his transfer to the Italian Inter, and the second is the Copa America. In the South American championship, Ronaldo won the title with Brazil and scored five goals, including one in the final with Bolivia, won 3:1. He was also voted the best player in the competition, although the Mexican Luis Hernandez scored more goals than Ronaldo.

After his transfer to Inter, the footballer, who acquired the nickname "The Phenomenon" after a while, opened his Serie A goal account already in the second round in a match against Bologna. Four goals in three consecutive games followed, a winning goal against Parma, an important goal in a 2-2 draw with AC Milan and another strong run for him until the end of the calendar year. In the cup tournament, Ronaldo scored a hat-trick against Piacenza in the 1/8 finals, and in Europe, for the UEFA Cup, he punished Xamax and Strasbourg. Impressively, it set the tone for an incredible turnaround against the French, who won the first leg 2-0, but at the San Siro, Ronaldo opened the scoring in the 27th minute as Inter won 3-0 to advance to the quarter-finals. the finals, which are in the spring.

In 1997, a young Brazilian shines on the European fields, who definitely catches the eye and what he will do at the world finals in France is eagerly awaited. Before that, however, he received a well-deserved prize for the best player in the world. Ronaldo is the forty-second Ballon d'Or winner.