Cristiano Ronaldo; born 5 February 1985) is a Portuguese professional footballer who plays as a forward for Spanish club Real Madrid and the Portugal national team. Often considered the best player in the world and regarded by many as the greatest of all time, Ronaldo has a record-tying five Ballon d’Or awards,] the most for a European player, and is the first player to win four European Golden Shoes. He has won 25 trophies in his career, including five league titles, four UEFA Champions League titles and one UEFA European Championship. Both a prolific goalscorer and playmaker, Ronaldo holds the records for most official goals scored in Europe’s top-five leagues , the UEFA Champions League , the UEFA European Championship , as well as those for most assists in the UEFA Champions League and the UEFA European Championship . He has scored over 650 senior career goals for club and country.
Born and raised on the Portuguese island of Madeira, Ronaldo was diagnosed with a racing heart at age 15. He underwent an operation to treat his condition, and began his senior club career playing for Sporting CP, before signing with Manchester United at age 18 in 2003. After winning his first trophy, the FA Cup, during his first season in England, he helped united win three successive Premier League titles, a UEFA Champions League title, and a FIFA Club World Cup. By age 22, he had received Ballon d’Or and FIFA World Player of the Year nominations and at age 23, he won his first Ballon d’Or and FIFA World Player of the Year awards. In 2009, Ronaldo was the subject of the most expensive association football transfer when he moved from Manchester United to Real Madrid in a transfer worth €94 million (£80 million).
In Spain, Ronaldo has won 14 trophies, including two La Liga titles, two Copas del Rey, three UEFA Champions League titles, two UEFA Super Cups, and three FIFA Club World Cups. After joining Real Madrid, Ronaldo finished runner-up for the Ballon d’Or three times, behind Lionel Messi, his perceived career rival, before winning back-to-back Ballons d’Or in 2013 and 2014. Real Madrid’s all-time leading goalscorer, Ronaldo has scored a record 34 La Liga hat-tricks, including a record-tying eight hat-tricks in the 2014–15 season and is the only player to reach 30 league goals in six consecutive La Liga seasons. Ronaldo won back-to-back Ballons d’Or for a second time, winning by a record voting margin in 2016 after sealing La Undécima, Madrid’s 11th European title, and winning Euro 2016, and in 2017 after firing Madrid to the first back-to-back UEFA Champions League victory in history.
A Portuguese international, Ronaldo was named the best Portuguese player of all time by the Portuguese Football Federation in 2015. Ronaldo made his senior international debut in August 2003, at age 18. He is Portugal’s most capped player of all time with over 140 caps, and has participated in seven major tournaments. He is Portugal’s all-time top goalscorer. He scored his first international goal at Euro 2004 and helped Portugal reach the final. He took over full captaincy in July 2008, leading Portugal to their first-ever triumph in a major tournament by winning Euro 2016, and received the Silver Bott as the second-highest goalscorer of the tournament. One of the most marketable sportsmen, he was ranked the world’s highest-paid athlete by Forbes in 2016 and 2017, as well as the world’s most famous athlete by ESPN in 2016 and 2017.
Ronaldo was born in São Pedro, Funchl, and grew up in the Funchal parish of Santo António, as the youngest child of Maria Dolores dos Santos Aveiro, a cook, and José Dinis Aveiro, a municipal gardener and a part-time kit His second given name, “Ronaldo”, was chosen after then-U.S. president Ronald Reagan. He has one older brother, Hugo, and two older sisters, Elma and Liliana Caria. His great-grandmother on his father’s side, Isabel da Piedade, was from São Vicente, Cape Verde. Ronaldo grew up in a Catholic and impoverished home, sharing a room with his brother and sisters.
As a child, Ronaldo played for amateur team Andorinha from 1992 to 1995, where his father was the kit man, and later spent two years with Nacional. In 1997, aged 12, he went on a three-day trial with Sporting CP, who signed him for a fee of £1,500. He subsequently moved from Madeira to Alcochete, near Lisbon, to join Sporting’s other youth players at the club’s football academy By age 14, Ronaldo believed he had the ability to play semi-professionally, and agreed with his mother to cease his education in order to focus entirely on football.[ While popular with other students at school, he had been expelled after throwing a chair at his teacher, who he said had “disrespected” him. However, one year later, he was diagnosed with a racing heart, a condition that could have forced him to give up playing football. He underwent an operation in which a laser was used to cauterise the affected area of his heart; discharged from hospital hours after the procedure, he resumed training only a few days later.
At age 16, Ronaldo was promoted from Sporting’s youth team by first-team manager László Bölöni, who was impressed with his dribbling. He subsequently became the first player to play for the club’s under-16, under-17 and under-18 teams, the B team, and the first team, all within one season. A year later, on 7 October 2002, Ronaldo made his debut in the Primeira Liga, against Moreirense, and scored two goals in their 3–0 win. Over the course of the 2002–03 season, his representatives suggested the player to Liverpool manager Gérard Houllier and Barcelona president Joan Laporta Manager Arsène Wenger, who was interested in signing the winger, met with him at Arsenal’s grounds in November to discuss a possible transfer.
Ronaldo came to the attention of Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson in August 2003, when Sporting defeated United 3–1 at the inauguration of the Estádio José Alvalade in Lisbon. His performance impressed the Manchester United players, who urged Ferguson to sign him. Ferguson himself considered the 18-year-old “one of the most exciting young players” he had ever seen. A decade after his departure from the club, in April 2013, Sporting honoured Ronaldo by selecting him to become their 100,000th member.
Ronaldo became Manchester United’s first-ever Portuguese player when he signed before the 2003–04 season.His transfer fee of £12.24 million made him, at the time, the most expensive teenager in English football history. Although he requested the number 28, his number at Sporting, he received the number 7 shirt, which had previously been worn by such United players as George Best, Eric Cantona and David Beckham. Wearing the number 7 became an extra source of motivation for Ronaldo.A key element in his development during his time in England proved to be his manager, Alex Ferguson, of whom he later said, “He’s been my father in sport, one of the most important and influential factors in my career.”
Ronaldo made his debut in the Premier League in a 4–0 home victory over Bolton Wanderers on 16 August 2003, receiving a standing ovation when he came on as a 60th-minute substitute for Nicky Butt. His performance earned praise from George Best, who hailed it as “undoubtedly the most exciting debut” he had ever seen.Ronaldo scored his first goal for Manchester United with a free-kick in a 3–0 win over Portsmouth on 1 November.Three other league goals followed in the second half of the campaign, the last of which came against n the final day of the season, a match in which he also received his first red card. Ronaldo ended his first season in English football by scoring the opening goal in United’s 3–0 victory over Millwall in the FA Cup final, earning his first trophy.
At the start of 2005, Ronaldo played two of his best matches of the 2004–05 season, producing a goal and an assist against Aston Villa and scoring twice against rivals Arsenal After scoring four goals in United’s run to the FA Cup final,he played the full 120 minutes of the decisive match against Arsenal, which ended in a goalless draw, and scored his attempt in the lost penalty shootout. Ronaldo scored three braces during the next campaign, the 2005–06 season, scoring two goals each against Bolton Wanderers,Fulham, and Portsmouth. He scored Manchester United’s 1000th Premier League goal on 29 October, their only strike in a 4–1 loss to Middlesbrough.Midway through the season, in November, he signed a new contract which extended his previous deal by two years to 2010. Ronaldo won his second trophy in English football, the Football League Cup, after scoring the third goal in United’s 4–0 final victory over
As rumours circulated of Renaldo’s interest in moving to Real Madrid, United filed a tampering complaint with governing body FIFA over Madrid’s alleged pursuit of their player, but they declined to take action. FIFA president Sepp Blatter asserted that the player should be allowed to leave his club, describing the situation as “modern slavery”. Despite Ronaldo publicly agreeing with Blatter, he remained at United for another year. Ahead of the 2008–09 season, on 7 July, he underwent ankle surgery, which kept him out of action for 10 weeks. Following his return, he scored his 100th goal in all competitions for United with the first of two free kicks in a 5–0 win against Stoke City on 15 November, which meant he had now scored against all 19 opposition teams in the Premier League at the time. Five days later, he received the third red card of his career when he was sent off against Manchester City.At the close of 2008, Ronaldo helped United win the FIFA Club World Cup in Japan, assisting the finl-winning goal against Liga de Quito and winning the Silver Ball in the process. He subsequently became United’s first Ballon d’Or winner since George Best in 1968, and the first Premier League player to be named the FIFA World Player of the Year.
Ronaldo scored his first Champions League goal of the season, and his first since the final against Chelsea, in a 2–0 victory over Inter Milan, sending United into the quarter-finals. His match-winning goal in the second leg against Porto, a 40-yard strike, earned him the inaugural FIFA Puskás Award, presented by FIFA in recognition of the best goal of the year; he later called it the best goal he had ever scored.He scored twice against Arsenal, including a free kick from 39 yards, as United advanced to the final in Rome, where he made little impact in United’s 2–0 defeat to Barcelona. Ronaldo ended his time in England with nine trophies, as United claimed their third successive Premier League title and a Football League Cup. He finished the campaign with 26 goals in all competitions, 16 goals fewer than the previous season, in four more appearances.His final ever goal for Manchester United came on 10 May 2009 with a free kick in the Manchester derby at Old Trafford.
Ahead of the 2009–10 season, Ronaldo joined Real Madrid for a world record transfer fee at the time, of £80 million (€94 million). His contract, which ran until 2015, was worth €11 million per year and contained a €1 billion buy-out clause. At least 80,000 fans attended his presentation at the Santiago Bernabéu, surpassing the 25-year record of 75,000 fans who had welcomed Diego Maradona at Napol. Since club captain Raúl already wore the number 7, the number Ronaldo wore at Manchester United, Ronaldo received the number 9 shirt, which was presented to him by the former Madrid player Alfredo Di Stéfano.
Ronaldo made his debut in La Liga on 29 August 2009, against Deportivo La Coruña, and scored from the penalty spot in Madrid’s 3–2 home win. He scored in each of his first four league fixtures with the club, the first Madrid player to do so. His first Champions League goals for the club followed with two free kicks in the first group match against Zürich.His strong start to the season, however, was interrupted when he suffered an ankle injury in October while on international duty, which kept him sidelined for seven weeks.A week after his return, he received his first red card in Spain in a match against Almería. Midway through the season, Ronaldo placed second in the running for the Ballon d’r and the FIFA World Player of the Year award, behind Lionel Messi of Barcelona, Madrid’s historic rivals. He finished the campaign with 33 goals in all competitions, including a hat-trick in a 4–1 win against Mallorca on 5 May 2010, his first in the Spanish competition. His first season at Real Madrid ended trophyless
Following Raúl’s departure, Ronaldo was handed the number 7 shirt for Real Madrid before the 2010–11 season. His subsequent return to his Ballon d’Or-winning form was epitomised when, for the first time in his career, he scored four goals in a single match during a 6–1 rout against Racing Santander on 23 October. His haul concluded a goalscoring run of six consecutive matches—three in La Liga, one in the Champions League, and two for Portugal—totalling 11 goals, the most he had scored in a single month. Ronaldo subsequently scored further hat-tricks against Athletic Bilbao, Levante, Villarreal, and Málaga.Despite his performance, he failed to make the podium for the inaugural FIFA Ballon d’Or at the end of 2010.
During a historical series of four Clásicos against rivals Barcelona in April 2011, Ronaldo scored twice to equal his personal record of 42 goals in all competitions in a single season. Although he failed to find the net during Madrid’s eventual elimination in the Champions League semi-finals, he equalised from the penalty spot in the return league game and scored the match-winning goal in the 103rd minute of the Copa del Rey final, winning his first trophy in Spain. Over the next two weeks, Ronaldo scored another four-goal haul against Sevilla a hat-trick against Getafe, and a brace of free kicks against Villarreal, taking his league total to 38 goals, which equalled the record for most goals scored in a season held by Telmo Zarra and Hugo Sánchez His two goals in the last match of the season, against Almería, made him the first player in La Liga to score 40 goals. In addition to the Pichichi Trophy, Ronaldo consequently won the European Golden Shoe for a second time, becoming the first player to win the award in two different leagues. He ended his second season at Real Madrid with a total of 53 goals in all competitions.
During the following campaign, the 2011–12 season, Ronaldo surpassed his previous goalscoring feats to achieve a new personal best of 60 goals across all competitions.His 100th goal for Real Madrid came at Camp Nou in the Supercopa de España, though Barcelona claimed the trophy 5–4 on aggregate.He regained a place on the FIFA Ballon d’Or podium, as runner-up to Messi, after scoring hat-tricks against Real Zaragoza, Rayo Vallecano, Málaga, Osasuna, and Sevilla, the last of which put Madrid on top of the league by the season’s midway point.Despite two goals from Ronaldo, Madrid were subsequently defeated by Barcelona 4–3 on aggregrate in the quarter-finals of the Copa del Rey. He again scored twice, including a penalty, in the Champions League semi-finals against Bayern Munich, resulting in a 3–3 draw, but his penalty kick in the shootout was saved by Manuel Neuer, leading to Madrid’s elimination. Ronaldo found greater team success in the league, as he helped Real Madrid win their first La Liga title in four years, with a record 100 points. Following a hat-trick against Levante, further increasing Madrid’s lead over Barcelona, he scored his 100th league goal for Madrid in a 5–1 win over Real Sociedad on 24 March 2012, a milestone he reached in just 92 matches across three seasons, breaking the previous club record held by Ferenc Puskás. Another hat-trick in the Madrid derby against Atlético Madrid brought his total to 40 league goals, equalling his record of the previous season. His final league goal of the campaign, against Mallorca, took his total to 46 goals, four short of the new record set by Messi,and earned him the distinction of being the first player to score against all 19 opposition teams in a single season in La Liga
Ronaldo began the 2012–13 season by lifting the Supercopa de España, his third trophy in Spain. With a goal in each leg by the Portuguese, Madrid won the Spanish Super Cup on away goals following a 4–4 aggregate draw against Barcelona. Although Ronaldo publicly commented that he was unhappy with a “professional issue” within the club, prompted by his refusal to celebrate his 150th goal for Madrid, his goalscoring rate did not suffer. After netting a hat-trick, including two penalties, against Deportivo La Coruña, he scored his first hat-trick in the Champions League in a 4–1 victory over Ajax. Four days later, he became the first player to score in six successive Clásicos when he hit a brace in a 2–2 draw at Camp Nou. His performances in 2012 again saw Ronaldo voted second in the running for the FIFA Ballon d’or, finishing runner-up to four-time winner Messi.
A Portuguese international, Ronaldo began his youth career in 2001. Apart from the under-15 team, he also represented the under-17, under-20, under-21, and under-23 national sides, amassing 34 youth caps and scoring 18 goals overall. He represented his country at the 2002 UEFA European Under-17 Football Championship, where they failed to progress past the group stage. Ronaldo also featured in the Olympic squad at the 2004 Summer Olympics, scoring one goal in the tournament, though the team was eliminated in the first round, finishing bottom of their group with three points after 4–2 defeats to eventual semi-finalists Iraq and quarter-finalists Costa Rica.
At age 18, Ronaldo earned his first senior cap in a 1–0 victory over Kazakhstan on 20 August 2003. He was subsequently called up for UEFA Euro 2004, held in his home country, and scored his first international goal in a 2–1 group stage loss to eventual champions Greece.After converting his penalty in a shootout against England at the quarter-final stage, he helped Portugal reach the final by scoring the opening goal in a 2–1 win over the Netherlands, but the crucial last match ended in a 0–1 defeat.He was featured in the team of the tournament, having provided two assists in addition to his two goals.
Ronaldo was the second-highest scorer in the European qualification for the 2006 FIFA World Cup with seven goals.During the tournament, he scored his first World Cup goal against Iran with a penalty kick in Portugal’s second match of the group stage In the quarter-finals against England, his Manchester United teammate Wayne Rooney was sent off for stamping on Portugal defender Ricardo Carvalho. Although the referee later clarified that the red card was only due to Rooney’s infraction, the English media speculated that Ronaldo had influenced his decision by aggressively complaining, after which he was seen in replays winking at Portugal’s bench following Rooney’s dismissal.Ronaldo was subsequently booed during their 1–0 semi-final defeat to France. FIFA’s Technical Study Group overlooked him for the tournament’s Best Young Player award, citing his behaviour as a factor in the decision
One day after his 22nd birthday, Ronaldo captained Portugal for the first time in a friendly game against Brazil on 6 February 2007, as requested by Portuguese Football Federation president Carlos Silva, who had died two days earlier.Ahead of Euro 2008, he was given the number 7 shirt for the first time. While he scored eight goals in the qualification,the second-highest tally, he scored just one goal in the tournament, netting the second goal of their 3–1 win in the group stage match against the Czech Republic, where he was named man of the match. Portugal were eliminated in the quarter-finals with a 3–2 loss against eventual finalists Germany.
After Portugal’s unsuccessful performance in the European Championship, Luiz Felipe Scolari was replaced as coach by Carlos Queiroz, formerly the assistant manager at United.Queiroz made Ronaldo the squad’s permanent captain in July 2008. Ronaldo failed to score a single goal in the qualification for the 2010 World Cup, as Portugal narrowly avoided a premature elimination from the tournament with a play-off victory over Bosnia.At the group stage of the World Cup, he was named man of the match in all three matches against Côte d’Ivoire, North Korea, and Brazil. His only goal of the tournament came in their 7–0 rout of North Korea, which marked his first international goal in 16 months. Portugal’s World Cup ended with a 1–0 loss against eventual champions Spain in the round of 16.
Ronaldo scored seven goals in the qualification for Euro 2012, including two strikes against Bosnia in the play-offs, to send Portugal into the tournament, where they were drawn in a “group of death”. After the opening 0–1 defeat to Germany, he also failed to score in the 3–2 win against Denmark, missing two clear one-on-one chances.He redeemed himself in the last group match against the Netherlands, where he scored twice to secure a 2–1 victory, and the quarter-finals against the Czech Republic, scoring a header to give his team a 1–0 win. He was named man of the match against both opponents. After the semi-finals against Spain ended scoreless, with Ronaldo having sent three shots over the bar, Portugal were eliminated in the penalty shootout. Ronaldo did not take a penalty as he had been slated to take the unused fifth, a decision that drew criticism. As the joint top scorer with three goals, alongside five other players, he was again included in the team of the tournament.
Ronaldo is widely regarded as one of the two best players of his generation, alongside Lionel Messi.As a teenager, Ronaldo quickly established himself among the world’s best players, featuring as the core component for Manchester United in the mid-to-late 2000 However, after winning his first Ballon d’Or by a record-high vote count at age 23, the public debate regarding his qualities as a player moved beyond his status in contemporary football to the possibility that he was the greatest player in history. Acclaimed for his prolific and consistent goalscoring ability, he is considered a decisive player, who stands out in games and who can be a game changer. Ronaldo is noted for his work ethic and dedication to improvement on the training pitch, as well as a natural leader.His drive and determination to succeed are fuelled by a desire to be talked about alongside Pelé and Diego Maradona when he hangs up his boots.
Ronaldo has at times been criticised for diving when tackled, about which his Madrid teammate Sergio Ramos responded after a 3–1 victory over Barcelona in the Spanish Super Cup: “He was a long way from me. I think it was a moment of play that unbalanced him and he didn’t feign anything,” Despite his talent, he was also occasionally criticised early in his career by manager Alex Ferguson, teammates and the media for being a selfish or overly flamboyant player.
Earlier in his career, Ronaldo had also been described as having an “arrogant image” on the pitch, with Ronaldo stating that he had become a “victim”, because of how he was portrayed in the media. He is often seen moaning, gesticulating and scowling while trying to inspire his team to victory, with Ronaldo insisting that his competitive nature should not be mistaken for arrogance. His managers, teammates and various journalists have commented that this reputation has caused an unfair image of him. In 2014, Ronaldo told France Football that he had made a “mistake” when he said in 2011, “People are jealous of me as I am young, handsome and rich”, adding that he had matured since then and fans understood him better.
Renaldo’s father, José Dinis Aveiro, died of an alcoholism-related liver condition at age 52 in September 2005 when Ronaldo was 20.Ronaldo has said that he does not drink alcohol, and he received libel damages over a Daily Mirror article that reported him drinking heavily in a nightclub while recovering from an injury in July 2008.
Ronaldo was in a relationship with Russian model Irina Shaky from 2010–2015.Ronaldo became father to a son in June 2010. Ronaldo announced that he had full custody.Ronaldo has never publicly revealed the identity of his son’s mother. In June 2017, Ronaldo confirmed on Facebook that he had become the father to twins.Five months later, his girlfriend Georgina Rodriguez gave birth to their daughter.
In 2017, Ronaldo was charged with fraudulently evading almost €15 million in tax between 2011 and 2014, a claim which he denies. As of September 2017, the court case is ongoing.
In April 2017, a story was published by Der Spiegel based on leaked documents provided by Football Leaks relating to an alleged rape by Ronaldo, stating that the alleged assault occurred in 2009 but that a legal agreement and accompanying non-disclosure agreement was entered into, resulting in the alleged charges being dropped. Renaldo’s agent Jorge Mendes denied the claims labelling them ‘journalistic fiction’, with the player stating it was consensual sex.Der Spiegel published a further story in response to the denial, alleging that text messages sent by Ronaldo showed that he was aware of the legal negotiations.
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