Brazilian club Cruzeiro promoted after Ronaldo investment

SÃO PAULO – Less than a year after former Brazilian player Ronaldo became involved with the club, Cruzeiro has returned to the country’s top football league.

The Brazilian team won this Wednesday the fourth place in the second division by defeating Vasco da Gama 3-0 at the Mineirão Stadium. The top four teams in the league will play in the top flight next season.

“This is the icing on our cake. We worked hard to deserve this,” Ronaldo told SporTV. “Let’s celebrate for a few days and then think about next year.”

The Belo Horizonte-based club were relegated in 2019 after a string of successes over the past decade, which included winning two of their four league titles in history. But then came a massive financial crisis, which police later said was fueled by mismanagement by former executives. Analysts say Cruzeiro has already had about 1 billion reais (about US$200 million) in debt.

Ronaldo, who won the World Cup with Brazil in 2002 and previously held the record for most goals scored in the tournament with 15, announced in December that he had bought Cruzeiro’s football department. The move came after a new law was passed to encourage investment in Brazilian football.

Local media reported that Ronaldo bought 90% of the shares for around R$400 million.

Ronaldo soon promised dramatic changes to the club’s management and a return to the Premier League. He signed little-known players and cut expenses to get Cruzeiro afloat.

Ronaldo is also an executive at Spanish club Valladolid, which was also recently promoted.

“We are both in the first division,” the Spanish club wrote on Twitter when congratulating Cruzeiro.

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