Cristiano Ronaldo dos Santos Aveiro, GOIH (born 5 February 1985), known as Cristiano Ronaldo (Portuguese pronunciation: [kɾɨʃtiˈɐnu ʁuˈnaɫdu]), is a Portuguese professional footballer who plays for Spanish club Real Madrid and the Portugal national team. He is a forward and serves as captain for Portugal. By the age of 22, Ronaldo had received Ballon d’Or and FIFA World Player of the Year nominations. The following year, in 2008, he won his first Ballon d’Or and FIFA World Player of the Year awards. He then won the FIFA Ballon d’Or in 2013 and 2014. In September 2015, Ronaldo scored his 500th senior career goal for club and country.
Often ranked as the best player in the world and rated by some in the sport as the greatest of all time, in 2015 Ronaldo was named the best Portuguese player of all time by the Portuguese Football Federation, during its 100th anniversary celebrations. He is the first player to win four European Golden Shoe awards. With Manchester United and Real Madrid, Ronaldo has won three Premier Leagues, one La Liga, one FA Cup, two Football League Cups, two Copas del Rey, two UEFA Champions Leagues, one UEFA Super Cup and two FIFA Club World Cups.
Ronaldo began his club career playing for Sporting CP in August 2002. In 2003 he signed for Manchester United for £12.2 million (€15 million). In 2004, he won his first trophy, the FA Cup. In 2007 and 2008, Ronaldo was named FWA Footballer of the Year, and was named the 2008 FIFA World Player of the Year. In 2009 he won the FIFA Puskás Award for Goal of the Year. He was the world’s most expensive player when he moved from Manchester United to Real Madrid in 2009 in a transfer worth £80 million (€94 million/$132 million). His buyout clause is valued at €1 billion. In May 2012, he became the first footballer to score against every team in a single season in La Liga. Ronaldo holds the record for most goals scored in a single UEFA Champions League season, having scored 17 goals in the 2013–14 season. In December 2014, Ronaldo became the fastest player to score 200 goals in La Liga, which he accomplished in his 178th La Liga game. He is the only player in the history of football to score 50 or more goals in a season on five consecutive occasions. In September 2015, Ronaldo became the all-time top goalscorer in the UEFA Champions League, and in October 2015 he became Real Madrid’s all-time leading goalscorer. He is the second highest goalscorer in La Liga history behind his perceived career rival Lionel Messi.
Ronaldo made his international debut for Portugal in August 2003, at the age of 18. He has since been capped over 100 times and has participated in six major tournaments: three UEFA European Championships (2004, 2008 and 2012) and three FIFA World Cups (2006, 2010 and 2014). He is the first Portuguese player to reach 50 international goals, making him Portugal’s all-time top goalscorer. He scored his first international goal in Euro 2004 and helped Portugal reach the final. He took over captaincy in July 2008, and he led Portugal to the semi-finals at Euro 2012, finishing the competition as joint-top scorer. In November 2014, Ronaldo became the all-time top scorer in the UEFA European Championship (including qualifying) with 23 goals.
- 1 Early life
- 2 Club career
- 2.1 Sporting CP
- 2.2 Manchester United
- 2.2.1 2003–04: Adapting to England
- 2.2.2 2004–06: Developing years
- 2.2.3 2006–07: First Premier League title
- 2.2.4 2007–08: Champions League success
- 2.2.5 2008–09: World Player of the Year and final season
- 2.3 Real Madrid
- 2.3.1 2009–10: Arriving in Spain
- 2.3.2 2010–11: Breaks La Liga season goalscoring record
- 2.3.3 2011–12: First La Liga title
- 2.3.4 2012–13: Fastest to reach 200 goals for Madrid
- 2.3.5 2013–14: Champions League season goalscoring record
- 2.3.6 2014–15: Fastest to 200 La Liga goals, third FIFA/Ballon d’Or
- 2.3.7 2015–16: Real Madrid’s all-time record goalscorer
- 3 International career
- 3.1 2004–05: Early success
- 3.2 2006–07: World Cup and first captaincy stint
- 3.3 2008–10: Permanent captaincy
- 3.4 2011–13: Individual and Euro success
- 3.5 2014: World Cup and Portugal’s record goalscorer
- 3.6 2015: Euro 2016 qualification
- 4 Player profile
- 4.1 Style of play
- 4.2 Reception
- 4.3 Comparisons to Lionel Messi
- 5 In popular culture
- 6 Outside football
- 6.1 Personal life
- 6.2 Philanthropy
- 6.3 Fashion
- 7 Career statistics
- 7.1 Club
- 7.2 International
- 8 Honours
- 8.1 Club
- 8.2 Individual
- 8.2.1 Orders
- 8.3 Records
- 8.3.1 World
- 8.3.2 Europe
- 8.3.3 Spain
- 8.3.4 Real Madrid
- 9 References
- 10 External links
Ronaldo was born in Santo António, a neighbourhood of Funchal, Madeira, the youngest child of Maria Dolores dos Santos Aveiro, a cook, and José Dinis Aveiro, a municipal gardener. His second given name, “Ronaldo”, was chosen after then-U.S. president Ronald Reagan, who was his father’s favourite actor. He has one older brother, Hugo, and two older sisters, Elma and Liliana Cátia. His great-grandmother Isabel da Piedade was from Cape Verde.
The family was staunchly Catholic. Ronaldo later claimed that he lived in poverty, sharing a room with his brother and sisters. Ronaldo was popular with other students at school, but he was expelled after he threw a chair at his teacher. Ronaldo later said of the incident, “He disrespected me”. At age 14, Ronaldo agreed with his mother to focus entirely on football. He states, “When I got to 14 I felt I had the potential. I thought I was maybe good enough at that time to play semi-professionally”. Ronaldo had started playing for amateur team Andorinha at age 8, where his father was the kit man. In 1995, Ronaldo, aged 10, signed with local club Nacional, and, after a title-winning campaign, he went on a three-day trial with Sporting CP, who subsequently signed him for an undisclosed sum.
Ronaldo joined Sporting’s other youth players who trained at the Academia Sporting, the club’s football academy, in Alcochete. He became the only player ever to play for Sporting’s under-16, under-17, under-18, B-team, and the first team, all within one season. He scored two goals in his league debut on 7 October 2002, which Sporting CP won 3–0 against Moreirense, while featuring for Portugal in the 2002 European Under-17 Championship.
At the age of 15, Ronaldo was diagnosed with a racing heart, a condition that might have forced him to give up playing football. The Sporting staff were made aware of the condition and Ronaldo’s mother gave her authorisation for him to go into hospital. While there, he had an operation in which a laser was used to cauterise the area of his heart that was causing the problem. The surgery took place in the morning and Ronaldo was discharged from hospital by the end of the afternoon; he resumed training only a few days later. At the age of 16, the club’s Romanian manager László Bölöni promoted Ronaldo from the youth team and gave him the chance of a professional debut. He declared that he had to deal with the impressive number of dribbles that Ronaldo was doing.
In November 2002, Ronaldo was invited to Arsenal’s training ground, London Colney to meet manager Arsène Wenger and his coaching staff. Wenger, who was interested in signing the midfielder, had arranged to meet Ronaldo’s representatives, Formation (who suggested the player originally to Gérard Houllier, then Liverpool manager, and Joan Laporta, then Barcelona president) in the subsequent months to discuss a transfer arrangement. Of a possible move to Liverpool, Ronaldo said “Liverpool are one of the best clubs in England and it would be a dream for any player to represent a club of such traditions”. However, he came to the attention of Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson in the middle of 2003, when Sporting defeated United 3–1 in the inauguration of the Estádio José Alvalade in Lisbon. Ronaldo’s performance impressed the Manchester United players, who urged Ferguson to sign him. In April 2013, Sporting honoured Ronaldo by selecting him to become the 100,000th member of the club.
2003–04: Adapting to England
“There have been a few players described as ‘the new George Best’ over the years, but this is the first time it’s been a compliment to me.”
Ronaldo became Manchester United’s first-ever Portuguese player when he signed for £12.24 million before the 2003–04 season. He was given the number 7 shirt by Alex Ferguson, who said that after a friendly with Sporting, United’s players “talked about him constantly, and on the plane back from the game they urged me to sign him” and that “he is one of the most exciting young players I’ve ever seen”. Ronaldo later revealed that he had requested the number 28 (his number at Sporting), as he did not want the pressure of living up to the expectation linked to the number 7 shirt, which had previously been worn by United legends such as George Best, Bryan Robson, Eric Cantona and David Beckham. “After I joined, the manager asked me what number I’d like. I said 28. But Ferguson said ‘No, you’re going to have No. 7,’ and the famous shirt was an extra source of motivation. I was forced to live up to such an honour”.
“I want to be one of the best players around in two or three years’ time. I would be very proud if, one day, I’m held in the same esteem as George Best or David Beckham.”
Ronaldo made his team debut to a standing ovation as a 60th-minute substitute for Nicky Butt in a 4–0 home victory over Bolton Wanderers on 16 August, and produced a performance hailed by Alex Ferguson as “marvellous”. His early form earned high praise from United legend George Best, who said that Ronaldo was “special”, while former manager Ron Atkinson effused about his “pace and quick thinking” and how it meant United could “spring very quickly from defence into attack”.
He scored his first goal for Manchester United with a free kick in a 3–0 win over Portsmouth on 1 November 2003. His only other league goals in the season all came in 2004; he scored the second in a 3–0 win against Tottenham Hotspur on 20 March, the equalising goal in a 2–1 victory away to Birmingham City on 10 April, and the opener in a 2–0 victory over Aston Villa on the final day of the season in a game in which he also received his first red card. Ronaldo also scored in the fifth round of the 2003–04 FA Cup in a 4–2 Manchester derby against Manchester City. Ronaldo ended his first season in English football by scoring the opening goal in United’s 3–0 FA Cup Final victory over Millwall, with his performance receiving praise from Gary Neville who said “I think Ronaldo can be one of the top footballers in the world”.