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Brazilian legend Ronaldo confirms comeback for Fort Lauderdale Strikers


Former Brazilian football star and member of the Local Organizing Committee (COL) Ronaldo Nazario during a visit to the Mario Filho “Maracana” stadium in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, on March 27, 2014, at the end of Local Organizing Committee (COL) board meeting’s media briefing. AFP PHOTO /VANDERLEI ALMEIDA (Photo credit should read VANDERLEI ALMEIDA/AFP/Getty Images)

AFP/Getty Images

From winning the Golden Ball at the World Cup to playing in front of 8,000 fans against the San Antonio Scorpians?

That could be the path for Brazil’s Ronaldo, as the former top scorer in World Cup history has started training for his comeback to professional soccer for the Fort Lauderdale Strikers of the NASL.

[ MORE: Ronaldo buys stake in Fort Lauderdale ]

A minority owner in the club, Ronaldo, 38, announced earlier this year that he would like to come out of retirement to play for the second-tier team. Today, he has confirmed the comeback is official.

Speaking to Brazilian magazine Lance!, the striker said he is planning to drop weight and hopes to be match fit come the NASL playoffs, which don’t begin until November.

It’s going to happen. I have already said so. But it’s going to be a bit later, in the play-offs.

For now, we are organizing it all, but I am going to have a [weight] goal.”

The thought of Ronaldo playing in America’s second tier of soccer is quite amazing considering he is only one of four players to have won the FIFA Player of the Year Award at least three times, along with Zinedine Zidane, Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo. He has also played for top clubs such as Barcelona, Real Madrid and Inter Milan, while winning two World Cups with Brazil.

Ronaldo became a minority owner of the club in December, with the club’s owners recruiting their fellow Brazilian to the front office. He hasn’t played since 2011 and now he will try to balance his off the pitch duties with a work-out regimen aiming at getting match fit.

If the 38-year-old can get even remotely fit he will surely score goals, and lots of them, in the NASL. With the influx of former stars joining the ranks of American clubs, Ronaldo’s comeback can only help the growth of the sport in the U.S.