Soccer-Brazil great Ronaldo selling stake in boyhood club Cruzeiro

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- Brazil great Ronaldo has agreed to sell his majority stake in Cruzeiro, the club where he made his senior debut, the Brazilian Serie A team announced on Monday.

Ronaldo, 47, agreed with BPW Sports company to sell the 90% stake he acquired in 2021 for $70 million through his company Tara Sports Brasil.

No details were given on how much BPW Sports are paying for the stake.

The former Barcelona, Inter Milan and Real Madrid forward helped clear the club's $195 million debt and led their return to the domestic top flight in 2022 after three seasons in Serie B.

However, a recent run of poor results sparked criticism and led to some fans to call for his departure.

"Ronaldo and BPW Sports signed an agreement to acquire all the shares of Tara Sports Brasil, the company that owns 90% of Cruzeiro SAF," the club said in a statement.

"(Ronaldo) led an administration that brought a new perspective to the club, implementing professional management and a governance structure in line with international best practice.

"Cruzeiro's credibility was restored, attracting important partners and sponsors, with contracts that set record figures for the club."

Ronaldo, who won the World Cup with Brazil in 1994 and 2002, will continue to serve as a member of Cruzeiro's board of directors upon approval of the deal by Brazil's Administrative Council for Economic Defense, the club added.

Ronaldo made his professional debut with Cruzeiro as a 16-year-old in 1993 before going on to become one of the best strikers in world football.

"A mix of feelings hit me today, but above all, the feeling of fulfilment," he told a news conference. "It's impossible not to remember when I took on the great challenge of buying Cruzeiro.

"We've faced many challenges, the majority of which we've overcome. We've stumbled along the way, but today I can say that I'm handing Cruzeiro over with a sense of having done my duty, given that the club's situation was very precarious."

Ronaldo now looks set to sell his 51% stake in Spanish second-tier side Real Valladolid.

"Valladolid is next," he told reporters.


(Reporting by Janina Nuno Rios in Mexico City; Editing by Peter Rutherford )

((Janina.Nuno@thomsonreuters.com;))

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