Ronaldo Sells 90% Stake in Brazilian Club Cruzeiro to BPW Sports

Brazilian legend Ronaldo sells 90% stake in Cruzeiro, his boyhood club, to BPW Sports for $120M, helping clear the club's $195M debt and return to the top flight. The deal marks a significant step in Cruzeiro's recovery and future competitiveness in Brazilian football.

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Aqsa Younas Rana
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Ronaldo Sells 90% Stake in Brazilian Club Cruzeiro to BPW Sports

Ronaldo Sells 90% Stake in Brazilian Club Cruzeiro to BPW Sports

Brazilian football great Ronaldo Nazário has agreed to sell a 90% stake in Cruzeiro, the club where he made his senior debut, to BPW Sports company. Ronaldo acquired the majority stake in Cruzeiro for $70 million in 2021 through his company Tara Sports Brasil and helped clear the club's $195 million debt, leading their return to the domestic top flight in 2022 after three seasons in Serie B.

The deal, worth around R$ 600 million (approximately $120 million), will see Ronaldo's company Tara Sports Brazil invest up to R$ 350 million (around $70 million) over five years for the acquisition of the 90% stake. The only change in the club's management will be the replacement of football director Paulo André with Alexandre Mattos, while the current CEO Gabriel Lima and coach Seabra will remain.

However, recent poor results led to some fan amid, criticism, prompting Ronaldo's decision to sell the stake. The new owner, Pedro Lourenço, known as Pedrinho, is a Cruzeiro supporter and has previously helped the club during financial crises. He plans to pay off Cruzeiro's massive debt within 10 years, which he says is the only obstacle preventing the club from competing with the top teams in Brazilian football.

Why this matters: Ronaldo's investment in Cruzeiro helped the club stay afloat during its worst financial crisis, as it had accumulated over $200 million in debt and was relegated to Brazil's second division from 2020 to 2022. The sale to BPW Sports marks a significant step in the club's recovery and future competitiveness in Brazilian football.

The deal is subject to approval by Brazil's Administrative Council for Economic Defense, and Ronaldo will continue to serve as a member of Cruzeiro's board of directors. Cruzeiro fans had mixed reactions to Ronaldo's departure, with some criticizing him, while the new owner apologized on behalf of the fans and acknowledged Ronaldo's efforts to revive the club. Ronaldo is also set to sell his 51% stake in Spanish second-tier side Real Valladolid.

Key Takeaways

  • Ronaldo sold 90% stake in Cruzeiro to BPW Sports for ~$120M to clear club's $195M debt.
  • Ronaldo's investment in 2021 helped Cruzeiro return to Brazil's top flight in 2022 after 3 seasons.
  • New owner Pedrinho plans to pay off Cruzeiro's debt within 10 years to boost competitiveness.
  • Ronaldo will continue as Cruzeiro board member, also selling 51% stake in Spanish club Valladolid.
  • Fans had mixed reactions, with some criticizing Ronaldo despite his efforts to revive the club.