On 8 December 2019, Belo Horizonte’s Estádio Mineirão imploded as the final whistle approached, when Cruzeiro fans ripped seats from the stands and threw them onto the pitch. Violent scuffles then took place with the police, forced to use tear gas to calm the spans of the fence. After the defeat against Palmeiras (0-2), on the last day of Serie A, the descent into the second division was officially recorded, the first in 98 years of history, for this legendary club in Brazil, one of the most titled in the Country with two Copas Libertadores, four championships and a record of six national cups.
Three years later, Cruzeiro is preparing to return to play in the Brazilian elite after a long financial crisis mitigated in particular by Ronaldo “Il Fenomeno” who bought 90% of the club’s shares in December 2021, for 400 million reais ( about 60 million euros). : “I have a lot to give back to Cruzeiro, to bring the club back to where it deserves to be. We have a lot of work to do “then announced the former Seleçao striker in the formalization phase.
Fenomeno’s first mission, when he arrived at the club in 2021, was to pay off Raposa’s biggest debts (“foxes” in Portuguese), which then amounted to about 50 million Brazilian reais (i.e. 10 million euros) for the transfers of Riascos, Arrascaeta and Rodriguinho. A debt that Ronaldo paid out of his own pocket, directly to FIFA, to save Cruzeiro for the first time: “Ronaldo will pay this debt. In theory, the deficit is that of the club but it is absolutely necessary to repay it even out of season “said Sérgio Santos Rodrigues, president of the Belo Horizonte team, on the antennas of TV Mafia Azul.
But finances are still in the red today, albeit largely covered by Ronaldo and the shareholders of Tara Sports. To avoid mistakes, Cruzeiro wanted to put the small plates in the big ones to surround himself with real financial experts to monitor the cash registers and make precise budget forecasts: The club has a sector that has been set up for this, to anticipate and structure the payment of any debts. We never want to be caught off guard, the club has picked up all this scenario and is organizing to pay within the limit of capacity and organization of the cashier. This team does a very high level job.emphasized Pedro Martins, the football director.
Bring a new mindset
The recovery of this colossus of Auriverde also went through an important total overhaul of the backstage by installing ingredients, certainly great and classic of European football, but which remain quite rare among South Americans: seriousness, professionalism and regularity. . With his charisma, Ronaldo quickly laid the foundations by returning to Cruzeiro: the legendary number 9 requires a team with responsible players who don’t go hand in hand with the Brazilian party scene. A request that seems to be paying off for him.
“Brazilians are famous for going out at night, ladies, for not being professional, for eating burgers the night before. They have already brought the European mentality. The player must be responsible and we must give this sense of responsibility. It is not easy to change a culture, but the great thing is that I, with a lot of time in Europe, and also Rafael Cabral, talked to the guys and helped in the process. Of course Ronaldo is the protagonist with his team, but we were able to help in the locker room “said in an interview with Rômulo (35), an experienced Genoa and Fiorentina midfielder Stream sports clubreturned to Belo Horizonte in 2021.
Prepare for the future
“I am so happy with the year we have spent. A special moment for all of us, for the Blue Nation. It’s time to celebrate. We got rid of an unthinkable nightmare that everyone has suffered, but now we have to plan for next year “, Ronaldo rejoiced after the great victory of his team on the last matchday of Serie B. The 2023 season will be made up of many challenges for Cruzeiro. The financial issue is still critical, despite an increase in the latest budgets. The club’s stratospheric debt points to over 1 billion Brazilian reais (almost € 200 million). Heavenly leaders cite the need to keep “down to earth” to avoid another sporting defeat. Cruzeiro’s board of directors met to continue the work thinking about the future of the club. The meeting took place at one of the largest consulting firms in the world, “Bathroom and company”, which helps organizations drive business change. The Raposa will increase their income with the return to Serie A, but part of this money is already committed through financial advances and bank loans on TV rights. The work will also consist of raising funds using other fronts, such as sponsorships of fans and partners, coordinating their high expectations: “The first goal we achieved, we now have other goals. We have to start fighting for the titles again, because that’s what the fans expect from us. “announced the Phenomenon.
Another central point of the project: the total reconstruction of the training center called “La Toca da Raposa” considered for many decades to be one of the best in the country: “We have two big changes planned. Infrastructure plays a key role in player development. The Toca has an obsolete structure. It was once celebrated as one of the best in Brazil and today that is no longer the case. We will carry out a work of adapting all the structures of Toca II to the whole administrative area. A new field will be built with new grass, some of the drainage is bad in the field 3 of Toca. Renovation of the changing rooms and a grandstand to host women’s, under 20 and under 17 matches are also planned.promised Ronaldo.