The latest athlete to be signed to Team PokerStars SportStar is Former Brazilian football star Ronaldo Nazario. The world's biggest online poker site made the announcement on Thursday, April 4th, 2013. "Ronaldo" joined the elite group of sports stars that represent PokerStars and includes Rafael Nadal, Boris Becker, and Fatima Moreira De Melo.
Considered one of football's all-time greats, Ronaldo has earned numerous awards throughout his 19-year pro career. Among his numerous accomplishments are 98 international matches for his native Brazil where he scored 62 goals and holds the all-time leading goal scorer in the history of the World Cup (15 goals). Ronaldo is also credited with a major role on the Brazilian national team that won the World Cup in 2002.
Ronaldo launched 9ine — now one of the top sports and entertainment agencies in Brazil — since retiring from soccer in 2011. Ronaldo signed Team PokerStars Pro Brazil member Andre Akkari last year and made the jump into poker. Akkari was the first poker player to be signed by the sports agency and Akkari's reps are responsible for managing his image, sponsorship, brand planning, and more.
Ronaldo’s presence has already produced a jump in participation in the poker community. The Brazilian Series of Poker (BSOP) previously brought around 400 players per event to the tables before Akkari joined 9ine. After Akkari and Ronaldo teamed up — five months later — the BSOP event had over 1,500 players in December. PokerStars now sponsors the Series, and Ronaldo is expected to be a regular when Season 7 kicks off in São Paulo in July.
"I always look to give my best in everything, in football and in life. Poker is another challenge that excites me," Ronaldo told the PokerStars Blog.
Image courtesy of the PokerStars Blog.