The 2018 World Cup in Russia is nearly here. In the build-up to the most eagerly anticipated tournament in football, we're looking back at a whole host of incredible records, played and moments.
This time we look at one of Brazil's most celebrated footballing heroes, Ronaldo, and the Guinness World Records title for Most FIFA World Cup finals goals by a football player which he held for eight years.
For more than a decade Ronaldo was Brazil’s main hitman.
Unparalleled power, pace to scare any defence and a ruthlessness in front of goal that many looked at in awe; Ronaldo was very much the all-round package.
His list of footballing honours reads more like a bibliography, having set the world alight at some of the biggest clubs including Inter Milan, Barcelona and Real Madrid.
He also stands as one of only ten players to have won the FIFA World Player of the Year award on more than one occasion, joining the likes of Johan Cruyff, Marco van Basten and Lionel Messi, having taken the Ballon d'Or in 1997 and again in 2002.
Arguably more impressive is the fact that he holds one of football’s most prestigious Guinness World Records titles - Most FIFA World Cup finals goals by a football (soccer) player, having hit the back of the net 15 times on soccer’s greatest stage (four times during France 98, eight in 2002 in Japan/South Korea and scoring three times during Germany 06).
Born Ronaldo Luís Nazário de Lima on the 18 September 1976, he began his playing career at Cruzeiro, making his league debut on 7 September 1993 against Corinthians, two weeks before his 17th birthday.
In his first season he notched up an impressive 12 goals in 14 appearances. It was a feat that brought him to the attention of the national team, with his burgeoning reputation seeing him selected for Brazil’s triumphant USA ‘94 World Cup squad.
While he did not make an appearance during the tournament, Ronaldo’s status as one of the game’s hottest talents was ensured, with the teenager making the move to European football shortly afterwards with a transfer to Dutch side PSV Eindhoven.
This was followed by a move to Spanish giants Barcelona two years later for a then world record fee of $19.5 million, before a move to Inter Milan just a year later for another record-setting fee of $27 million.
With the hype surrounding his talents at its height, Ronaldo entered the 1998 FIFA World Cup in France billed by reporters and experts as the world's greatest footballer.
He would have to wait until Brazil’s second group stage match against Morocco to open his World Cup scoring account, thundering home a precise drive in the 9 th minute in an eventual 3-0 win. This was followed with a brace against Chile in the second round and a trademark finish in the box against the Netherlands in the semi-finals.
The eventual final in Paris against France was marred by controversy, with Ronaldo’s name left off the team sheet, only to reappear just in time for kick-off amid rumours that he had suffered a seizure in the build-up to the match.
Looking decidedly below-par, Ronaldo was subsequently eclipsed by Zinedine Zidane in a one-sided match that saw France crowned world champions for the first time.
Following the tournament, Ronaldo reinforced his reputation as the world’s best striker at club level, and was in scintillating form for Inter Milan before rupturing a tendon in his knee during a Serie A match against Lecce in November 1999.
Disaster struck just nine minutes into his comeback match the following April, when he suffered a ruptured cruciate ligament in the same knee.
The devastating injury kept Ronaldo out of Brazil's entire qualification campaign for the 2002 World Cup in Japan and South Korea where, in his absence, the team was far from impressive.
His return from injury in time for the tournament was nothing short of sensational, with Ronaldo proving to be the inspiration as Brazil lifted the World Cup for the fifth time.
Making up the "three R's", alongside formidable attacking partners Rivaldo and Ronaldinho, Ronaldo ended the tournament as top scorer with eight goals, having scored against every opponent in the tournament except in the quarter-finals against England.
In the final against Germany in Yokohama, Japan, Ronaldo scored twice and tied Pelé's Brazilian record of 12 career World Cup goals.
His display during the tournament ensured another big money move, this time to Real Madrid for €46 million.
Despite growing criticism of his weight and fitness, coach Carlos Alberto Parreira nevertheless named Ronaldo in the starting line-up for Brazil during the 2006 World Cup in Germany.
With his two goals against Japan in the third match of the tournament, he became the 20th player ever to score in three different FIFA World Cups. More significantly, he would go on to break Gerd Müller's World Cup finals scoring world record with his 15th and final World Cup goal in the second round match against Ghana.
Brazil would eventually get knocked out by France 1–0 with a goal from striker Thierry Henry in the quarter-finals, but Ronaldo had nevertheless made his own piece of footballing history during the tournament.
A final move to a big European club would follow in 2007 to AC Milan before Ronaldo eventually ended his playing career four years later whilst at Brazilian side Corinthians, succumbing to the knee injuries which had blighted him throughout his career.
He now splits his time between being co-owner of motorsports team A1 Brazil and as a regular player on the international poker circuit.
In the run-up to the 2014 tournament, Ronaldo admitted in an interview with Football Italia that he expected his record to be beaten during that year’s World Cup in his home country of Brazil.
Germany’s Miroslav Klose stood just one goal behind his total of 15 and Ronaldo accepted the Lazio forward was likely to surpass him at this summer’s tournament.
“Klose is 35 years old, he could have already stopped playing!” he jested.
“All joking aside, I am proud of my career and of the records I set. But I know that one day they will be broken.”
“It would be nice to keep it for a while longer but I am cheering for someone to break the record. It will be good for the sport.’”
And so it transpired with the German striker scoring his record-breaking 16th goal during Germany's 7-1 demolition of Brazil in the semi-finals of that year's tournament.
Klose sounded confident when speaking to Fifa.com earlier this month about his chances of taking the record: “I assume I will be 100 per cent ready for the tournament. I feel good and I'm on the right path”, he said
“The fitness coaches know me very well and they know exactly what I need, so everything is moving in the right direction”,
“For me, the main thing is to be fit and the most important thing is the team," he said. "I am convinced that when the team plays well, then the striker will also get his chances. But anyone who knows me is aware that the goal record is a target of mine”.