Next Career for Brazilian Soccer Legend Ronaldo: Advertising

He's played for Barcelona and Real Madrid and won the World Cup for Brazil. Now, the soccer legend's next 'club' is the ad agency WPP.

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Arnd Wiegmann / Reuters

Former Brazilian national soccer player Ronaldo is hugged by Fuleco, the mascot of the 2014 FIFA soccer world championships in Brazil, during the Ballon d'Or 2012 Gala in Zurich on January 7, 2013.

The last time the Brazilian soccer legend Ronaldo plied his trade in England, he was applauded off the field by generous Manchester United fans who had just witnessed the striker score a memorable hat-trick against them. Ten years on, he’s aiming to return — but his goals are far different.

The 36-year-old, who retired from soccer in 2011, is keen on trying his hand at a new profession: advertising. Next month Ronaldo will join the global ad firm WPP to work as an intern under its chief executive, Sir Martin Sorrell. “Eighteen years have passed and I’ve hardly studied at all; I feel a great need to become a student again,” Ronaldo told the Meio & Mensagem newspaper, according to the Independent.

“I’ve learned a lot in life, travelling, living abroad, just in the school of life. But I also have to immerse myself in something. Learning from Martin Sorrell will be perfect. I won’t leave him alone, I’ll be asking him questions the whole day, just like a striker. He’s going to have to tell me everything.”

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There’s some history here: in 2010 Ronaldo set up the sports marketing agency 9ine with investment from the agency. Sorrell said that the Brazilian “would be playing for WPP,” but was pretty cagey when the Guardian tried to draw him out about what exactly the former Real Madrid striker would be doing. “He is a colleague and adviser on Brazil World Cup and Rio Olympics. He is coming to London, we have a joint venture company and I think he will be working with that,” Sorrell said.

High-profile internships like Ronaldo’s do take place from time to time. Former pro hockey player Sean Avery nourished his unabashed love of fashion during the 2008 off-season working at Vogue. Kanye West, another fan of fashion, reportedly interned for Fendi in Rome and was reportedly keen on doing something similar for Belgian designer Raf Simmons. (“I was blown away from the planet when he told me,” Simmons told the New York Times.)

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The actress Ashley Olsen got put through her paces by designer Zac Posen, who told People magazine that the former Full House star “came in person and knocked on the door to get her internship, which is four steps farther than most interns go.” And in 2010, Lady Gaga was keen on an internship for renowned milliner Philip Treacy, who designed some of the hats and headgear for Gaga’s Monster Ball tour. “Nothing has been set in stone yet,” a spokesperson for Treacy said. Gaga ended up sticking to her day job, but it looks like Ronaldo may be taking the first steps of a new career.

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