Cristiano Ronaldo is a professional soccer player who has set numerous records while representing Manchester United, Real Madrid, and Juventus, as well as the Portuguese national team.
Who is Cristiano Ronaldo?
Cristiano Ronaldo dos Santos Aveiro is a soccer superstar from Portugal. Manchester United paid £12 million (over $14 million US dollars) to sign him in 2003, when he was only 16 years old, a record fee for a player his age.
Ronaldo scored three goals in the 2004 FA Cup final to help Manchester United win the title. In 2008, he set a franchise record for goals scored before being paid a record $131 million by Real Madrid the following year.
Among his many achievements, he has received a record-tying five Ballon d’Or awards for player of the year, and he led Portugal to an emotional victory in the 2016 European Championship. Ronaldo began a new chapter in his career in July 2018 when he signed with Italian Serie A club Juventus.
On February 5, 1985, Ronaldo was born in Funchal, Madeira, Portugal, a small island off the country’s western coast. Ronaldo is the fourth and youngest child of Maria Dolores dos Santos and José Dinis Aveiro. He was named after Ronald Reagan, a favorite actor of his father.
Ronaldo grew up in a working-class neighborhood in a small tin-roofed house overlooking the sea. Ronaldo was introduced to soccer by his father, who worked as an equipment manager at a boy’s club.
His early life was shaped by adversity, as his father drank excessively. Ronaldo’s mother worked as a cook and cleaner to help feed the children and maintain some financial stability.
Ronaldo’s father died from alcohol-related kidney problems in 2005, while he was playing for Manchester United; his mother died from breast cancer in 2007. The former was especially difficult for Ronaldo because he and his father had been close.
The young athlete had frequently urged his father to enter rehab and address his drinking problem. His father, on the other hand, never accepted the offer.
Ronaldo was already known as a phenomenon when he was 10 years old — a kid who ate, slept, and drank soccer. “All he wanted to do as a boy was play football,” his godfather, Fernao Sousa, told British reporters, adding, “He loved the game so much he’d miss meals or escape out of his bedroom window with a ball when he should have been doing his homework.”
Ronaldo’s talent and legend had grown significantly by his early adolescence. He joined Sporting Portugal in 2001 after playing for Nacional da Liha da Madeira.
Manchester United’s Soccer Career
Manchester United paid more than £12 million to sign Ronaldo in 2001, when he was only 16 years old — a record fee for a player his age at the time.
Ronaldo had wowed even his opponents with his footwork and deft skill in a mesmerizing performance for Portugal against Manchester. He made such an impression that a number of United players requested that their manager try to sign the young player, which the team did shortly after.
Ronaldo did not disappoint the soccer world: he demonstrated his promise early on in the 2004 FA Cup final, scoring three goals and assisting the team to victory. Ronaldo signed a five-year, £31 million contract in 2007.
A year later, Ronaldo justified his high salary once more by having one of the best seasons in club history, setting a franchise record for goals scored (42), and winning the FIFA World Player of the Year award in 2008. Ronaldo helped Manchester United win three Premier League titles in total.
Real Madrid agreed to pay Manchester United a record $131 million for the chance to sign Ronaldo in 2009. Nobody was surprised to see Ronaldo leave because his commitment to Manchester United had been called into question, and speculation swirled that he wanted to play elsewhere.
“I know they’re going to expect a lot from me to be successful at the club, and I know I’m going to be under a lot more pressure than I was at Manchester United because I was there for so long,” Ronaldo told reporters. “However, it means a new challenge and will help me become the best footballer.”
Ronaldo went on to amass an impressive collection of individual and team awards. He won his fourth Ballon d’Or as the sport’s player of the year in December 2016, defeating FC Barcelona’s Lionel Messi.
Ronaldo won the European Championship, Champions League, and Club World Cup in 2016, as well as individual awards from UEFA and France Football magazine. The following year, he won his fifth Ballon d’Or, tying him with his long-time rival, Lionel Messi.
After dropping hints that his time at Real Madrid was coming to an end, Ronaldo confirmed the rumors in July 2018 by signing with Italian Serie A club Juventus, which paid his old Spanish club a $140 million transfer fee.
“These years at Real Madrid and in this city of Madrid have quite possibly been the happiest years of my life,” Ronaldo wrote in an open letter on the club’s website. I have nothing but gratitude for this club, its fans, and the city. I can only thank them all for the love and affection they have shown me.”
By most accounts, Ronaldo’s first season with Juventus was a success. He scored 10 goals in his first 14 games and scored the lone goal in AC Milan’s Supercoppa Italiana victory. In May 2019, he was named the league’s MVP after leading his club to its eighth consecutive Serie A title.
Manchester United Return
Ronaldo announced his return to Manchester United on August 27, 2021.
National Team of Portugal
Ronaldo added an emotional victory to his collection on July 10, 2016. As captain of his national team, Ronaldo led Portugal to the European Championship final against France.
Despite his absence due to a knee injury suffered 25 minutes into the game, Portugal went on to win the championship title 1-0, their first international trophy. Ronaldo’s teammates said he inspired them from the sidelines as team captain.
“He gave us a lot of confidence and said, ‘Listen people, I’m sure we will win this Euro, so stay together and fight for it,’” Portugal fullback Cedric Soares said after the win.
“This is one of the happiest days of my career,” Ronaldo said. “I’ve always said I wanted to make history by winning a trophy with the national team.” And I succeeded. Thank God, everything worked out well for us.”
Ronaldo had a fantastic start to the 2018 World Cup, scoring three goals in the opening draw against Spain before adding another against Morocco to set a European record with his 85th international goal.
He was held scoreless in a 2-1 knockout stage loss to Uruguay, after which he declined to comment on his future with the national team.
Ronaldo is dating Spanish model Georgina Rodriguez; the couple first appeared publicly together in November 2016.
The couple used a surrogate to have twins, a boy and a girl, in June 2017. Rodriguez’s family grew by one when another girl was born in November 2017.
Cristiano Jr., Ronaldo’s first child, was born in June 2010 to a former girlfriend.
Madeira Airport’s Statue
In March 2017, self-taught sculptor Emanuel Santos unveiled a bronze bust of Ronaldo at Madeira Airport in Portugal, Ronaldo’s hometown. The statue was mocked for its sinister smile and apparent lack of resemblance to its subject, but Santos didn’t seem to notice.
“I asked [Ronaldo] what he thought of the outcome, and he said he liked it,” Santos explained. “He only requested that some wrinkles on his face that give him a certain expression when he laughs be changed. He complained that it made him look older and asked that it be thinned out a little to make him look smoother and more jovial.”
Following the negative publicity, the sports website Bleacher Report commissioned Santos to create another Ronaldo sculpture. This one, which was unveiled in March 2018, received praise for more closely resembling the soccer legend, though its creator defended his original work.
“I was really proud of the result [of the first bust],” he told Bleacher Report. “And if I had to do it all over again, I would do it exactly the same way.”
Investigation into Sexual Assault
In 2018, Las Vegas police reopened a 9-year-old investigation into allegations that Ronaldo raped a woman in his hotel room. In addition, the accuser filed a civil lawsuit against the star athlete.
The district attorney for Clark County, Nevada, announced the following summer that he had reviewed the case and would not be pursuing criminal charges against Ronaldo.
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