Former football player and businessman Ronaldo Nazário, 46, has in recent days become the target of new protests by angry Real Valladolid fans.
Fans are calling for the departure of the Brazilian star, president and owner of the Spanish club, and coach Paulo Pezzolano, formerly of Cruzeiro, a club that also has Fenômeno as its owner. The Uruguayan coach arrived in April, in an attempt to recover in the Spanish Championship, but was unable to avoid relegation — the second under Ronaldo’s management, who bought the team in 2018.
In addition to the pain of falls, the sale of important parts of the team, the lack of suitable replacements and the poor results at the beginning of the campaign in the second division contributed to complaints from the stands.
In the last game, on Sunday (10) against Elche, banners and chants from fans at the José Zorrilla stadium, in Valladolid, called for the departure of Ronaldo, who was also called a liar, with demands for more investments to strengthen the squad. “Where is the money?” asked the fans.
Data compiled by the website specializing in movements in the football market Transfermarkt show that Valladolid raised around 37 million euros (R$ 196.2 million) in the last transfer window. Just the sale of Ecuadorian right-winger Gonzalo Plata to Al Sadd, from Qatar, yielded 12 million euros (R$63.6 million) to the club’s coffers.
Investments for reinforcements were well below, totaling approximately 4.5 million euros (R$ 23.8 million). The most expensive signing was the return of Brazilian center forward Marcos André, who was at Valencia and cost 1.8 million euros (R$9.5 million).
In total, there were 22 departures and ten reinforcements for the season. With a new group, it will take time for there to be rapport, which will test the patience of the fans.
“This season, we had to face a drastic reduction in revenue, largely coming from broadcasting rights, which in the second division are much smaller than in the first. In this sense, we were led to a strategy of reformulating the team”, said the club in a note sent to Sheet.
Still according to the association, in recent months efforts have focused on renegotiating contracts and selling players, in order to generate the necessary revenue in the challenge of returning to the first division.
Thanks to the model adopted, the directors argue, it was possible to pay off a debt of approximately R$120 million that the club had when Ronaldo took over the operation, with additional contributions of R$60 million to modernize the stadium and training center.
To reinforce the squad for the second division dispute, the Spanish team hired the Brazilian John, goalkeeper with spells at Santos and Internacional, and defender Gustavo Henrique, also Brazilian, who was at Fenerbahçe, in Turkey, and was responsible for the goal in the last round that guaranteed a 1-1 draw.
In five games this season, Valladolid won only one victory, in the debut of the Spanish second division, 2-0 over Real Sporting. Afterwards, they lost three matches in a row, to Zaragoza, Alcorcón and Albacete.
The results left Valladolid in 18th place in the table, just one above the relegation zone to the third division.
After the game against Elche, Pezzolano said that he considers demands from fans normal. “The locker room knows what they are going through and what needs to be achieved,” said the coach, who even met with part of the fans as they left the stadium.
Valladolid’s next game will be on Saturday (16), at home, against Cartagena, 20th in the league table. Depending on the score, the fans’ pressure on the Phenomenon could increase even further.
In a post on the social network X (formerly Twitter) at the beginning of the month, Ronaldo acknowledged the bad phase the team was going through and promised to fight for recovery.
The plan presented by Ronaldo upon his arrival was to take Valladolid back to the European championships, which had not happened since 1997, within a period of five years. The best place in the Spanish Championship achieved during the Brazilian’s management was 13th, in the 2019/20 season.
The second relegation in five years led to an exchange of barbs between the former player and the mayor of Valladolid. Ronaldo criticized the politician for considering that the necessary public investments had not been made in the city’s team, and the mayor blamed the former player.
“Ronaldo’s big problem is that he doesn’t really know where he is. He doesn’t know either the country he lives in or the city he landed in,” said Óscar Puente on a local radio program.
Change in shield was also not well received
In addition to the poor results on the field, the change promoted in the team’s badge caused outrage among some of Valladolid’s fans.
Changes to the shape and color tone of the symbol occurred in June 2022, but have not yet been well digested. In last weekend’s protests, fans displayed banners demanding the return of the original symbol.
Despite protests, a return to the previous shield has been ruled out by management. She argues that the new design enhances the club’s traditions and was approved by most fans.