Football star Ronaldo Luiz Nazario de
Lima's nationalization was handled swiftly, but legally, Spain's justice
minister, Juan Fernando Lopez Aguilar, told local media on Monday,
denying press allegations of special favors.
The Brazilian-born 28-year old recieved his Spanish citizenship four
days ago, having begun the process in January this year.
Normally, the process take two years.
"Nationalizations are subject to the law and the government acts within
it," said Lopez, adding that "individual circumstances do need to be
He said that citizens have a right to know that the nationalization
process has to be completed in line with administrative and legal norms.
Ronaldo lives in Spain and plays for Spanish league club Real Madrid,
but will play for Brazil's national team in the 2006 World Cup. He is
the second Real player to get his citizenship this year. Roberto Carlos,
who was also born in Brazil, received his nationalization papers in
The Spanish press has been highlighting stories of footballers receiving
Spanish nationality in what reporters say is an unusually quick time.
The press alledges that the nationalization process is being altered to
give top football clubs an unfair advantage. Spanish law says that
Football clubs can not hire more than three non-European Union citizens
at any given time.