Ronaldo Makes Losing Promise to Spanish Side


By Ludovic Péron – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0,



There’s a strong argument to be made for Ronaldo being one of the greatest players of all time. Not the Portuguese one currently topping up his state-sized bank balance in the Middle East, but the criminally underrated legend Ronaldo Luís Nazário de Lima.


For the generation of supporters who know only one Ronaldo, the player now referred to as ‘the Brazilian one’ was electric at the turn of the century. A two-time Ballon d’Or winner and three-time FIFA World Player of the Year, he scored 62 times for Brazil in 98 appearances and racked up 352 goals in 518 club appearances. As a two-time World Cup winner and a two-time Copa America winner, he bested Ronaldo’s tally of international trophies, but injuries plagued him throughout his career.



Sadly, his return to the game in 2018 as owner of Spanish side Real Valladolid did not go well. The Spanish second division side suffered relegation under him last season. While they’re in contention for promotion this campaign, the promises Ronaldo made when he arrived seemed to have been broken. He has survived the fan fury that erupted last campaign, but the relationship is still fractured.



Broken Promise



Ronaldo has always battled with his weight. Fabio Capello, who managed the star at club level, claimed as much after he retired, and despite shedding a few pounds on a television show after hanging up his boots, he quickly regained. He was even described as just a ‘fat man walking down the street’ by Kaka, underlining the battles he has undergone and not won.



However, when he took over at the Estadio José Zorrilla, he made a promise about his weight. “I have not come to play,” he said after investing €30 million. “I am not in shape for that. I will start training and getting fit so I can train with the boys and contribute a bit in the technical area, always in agreement with the coach.”



That now feels like an empty promise, and despite perhaps not being crucial, it is reflective of the legend’s time at the club. Valladolid fans might be wondering how long does it take to lose weight, because, after almost six years, the Brazilian is still not in shape. Weight loss sites often warn of managing expectations when undergoing a course of weight loss, but six years? That does seem like an excessive time to wait, and their wait for success goes on even longer.



The owner’s story does seem to parallel the club’s fortunes. After avoiding the drop in 2019, he promised improvement, but the club’s fortunes did not uplift, and finally, he was moved to sack Sergio Gonzalez after a second relegation in three season in 2023. That was another move that took too long in many fans eyes, and is once again reflective of their manager’s broken promises.



Better Time Around The Corner?



Ronaldo may be a fat man walking down the street, according to former players, but he is also turning his club’s fortunes around. They’re fourth in the table and are just two points behind the automatic promotion spots, two clear of the final play-off place. Only one of the sides they face between now and the end of the season is above them in the table, and the Brazilian legend looks likely to get them back into the top flight once again. A little consistency, crucial on a football field and in the realms of weight control, will see them reach their goals.



There’s a personal parallel here. After his son completed a weight loss campaign, Ronaldo took his own physical situation a little more seriously. In 2022, he completed a 120-kilometre challenge on a cycle after promising fans he would do so if they were promoted back to La Liga. They may subsequently have been relegated, but it was a kept double promise – promotion and the challenge. Now, as they enter the final leg of the season, he’s hoping that he can throw his weight behind another promotion. Who knows, if he wins this battle, perhaps that six-year-long fight with the scales might also be something he makes headway with.