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Friday, 21 April, 2000, 20:02 GMT 21:02 UK
Ronaldo tops poll of famous Brazilians
Ronaldo
Ronaldo: Portugal's favourite Brazilian
On the eve of Brazil's 500th anniversary, a poll has shown the footballer, Ronaldo, to be the Brazilian best known in Portugal.

The poll shows that centuries after discovering Brazil, Portugal is shaky on its politics, but solid on its soccer stars, singers and soaps.

Published on Friday in Portugal's Expresso newspaper, the questionnaire shows that just 28.3% of those surveyed knew that Fernando Henrique Cardoso was Brazil's president.

But respondents in a country with three competing sports papers were on much safer ground when asked about football.

Fernando Henrique Cardoso
Fernando Henrique Cardoso: "Who?" say many Portuguese

The injury-plagued striker, Ronaldo, was recognised by 65% of those questioned, making him an easy winner.

The footballer, whose real name is Luiz Nazario De Lima, began his meteoric rise to fame in 1995 with the Dutch team PSV Eindhoven under former England coach Bobby Robson.

Although stricken by a number of career-threatening injuries, he is still regarded as one of the best strikers in the world.

Geography

As many as 78.7% of respondents correctly gave 22 April 1500 as the date that Portuguese sailors first landed in Brazil.

Although 19% did not know where Brazil was, 58.5% could locate South America's largest nation when shown a map.

Another 7.4% said they had visited Brazil, while 66% said they had relatives living in the Portuguese-speaking former colony.

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Novelist Jorge Amado was the second-best-known Brazilian after Ronaldo, polling 39% although Expresso noted this was probably because his book "Gabriela: Cravo e Canela" ("Gabriela: Clove and Cinnamon") has been adapted as television soap opera.

After Amado, the best-known Brazilian writer was esoteric novelist Paulo Coelho, who polled just 3%.

Soccer, singers and soaps

Further testimony to the popularity of soaps came with the recognition of heart-throb star Antonio Fagundes by 22.7% of respondents.

In third place, after Ronaldo and Jorge Amado, was veteran crooner Roberto Carlos, with a score of 37.9%, followed by Mario Jardel, the top scorer in Portugal's premier football league, who polled 37.5%.

The poll also asked what impressions people had of Brazilians. Of those polled, 62% thought Brazilians were "amusing", followed by 37.6% who said they were "friendly" and 20% who said "communicative" was a typical character trait.

See also:

06 Apr 00 | Americas
12 Apr 00 | Science/Nature
30 Oct 99 | Americas
18 Apr 00 | Americas
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