Happy birthday to Ronaldo Nazario - here's what football's greatest have said about him

Real Madrid v Espanyol

Ronaldo Luis Nazario de Lima, commonly known as Ronaldo or Brazilian Ronaldo, is widely regarded as one of football's greatest ever players.

And today (September 18) he celebrates his 42nd birthday.

It's been eight years since the Brazil legend retired from professional football and we're yet to see another striker quite like him.

Fast and strong yet elegant and quick with his feet, Ronaldo was a defender's nightmare and scored all kinds of goals throughout his career.

Injuries prevented him from reaching his true potential, which is a scary thought considering how good he was for the likes of PSV Eindhoven, Barcelona, Inter Milan and Real Madrid.

At international level for Brazil he was prolific, too, scoring 62 goals in 98 games, winning the FIFA World Cup twice and the Copa America twice.

And let's not forget the individual accolades, which include two Ballon d'Ors, three FIFA World Player of the Year awards and one European Golden Shoe.

Ronaldo was immense in his prime and to mark his 42nd birthday, we've compiled 10 of the best quotes about him from some of football's biggest names.

Ronaldo

"I loved watching players like [Zinedine] Zidane, Ronaldinho and Rivaldo, but Ronaldo was my hero... the best striker I've ever seen" - Lionel Messi

"For me, Ronaldo is the greatest. He was my idol. There will never, in my view, be a better player than him" - Zlatan Ibrahimovic

"Ronaldo took football to a whole new level" - Thierry Henry

"He is the greatest striker ever. Sometimes you forget how good he was. When he was at his best he was unstoppable, absolutely unplayable" - Wayne Rooney

"The best player I have ever played with? That's Ronaldo, il Fenomeno. I have seen [him] do things that nobody else has ever done" - Kaka

FC Barcelona's Puyol (R), Luis Garcia (L

"He's the best player in the world. He's my favourite player" - Cristiano Ronaldo

"Without hesitation, Ronaldo is the best player I ever played with. He had such an ease with the ball. He is number one" - Zinedine Zidane

"After [Diego] Maradona the best player was Ronaldo. It's my opinion that he is the best of the last 20 years" - Jose Mourinho

"He was not just an amazing person but one of the most talented and gifted players in football history" - David Beckham

"Ronaldo for me was an idol. I was inspired by him in everything" - Ronaldinho

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