Cristiano Ronaldo, full name Cristiano Ronaldo dos Santos Aveiro, (born Feb 5, 1985, Funchal, Madeira, Portugal), is a popular Portuguese soccer player and one of the greatest players of his generation.
Cristiano Ronaldo Early Life and Career
Ronaldo’s father, Jose Denis Aviro, worked at local club Andorinha as equipment manager. The name Ronaldo was added to Cristiano’s name in honor of his father’s favorite movie actor, Ronald Reagan, who was president of the United States when Cristiano was born. Ronaldo was diagnosed with a heart condition at the age of 15, that required surgery, but was soon sidelined and made a full recovery.
He first played for Madeira’s Clube Desportivo Nacional before moving to Sport Clube de Portugal (also known as Sporting Lisbon) in Portugal, playing for the club’s various youth teams before making his debut in 2002.
At 6 feet 1 inch (1.85 meters) tall, Ronaldo is an incredible athlete on the pitch. Originally a right winger, he excelled with his free-flowing attacking style. He can impress his opponents with his light footwork which creates enough space for openings in the opposition defense.
Cristiano Ronaldo Club Play
After a successful sports season, which sharply attracted the attention of Europe’s biggest football clubs, Cristiano signed for English Club Manchester United in 2003. No doubt, Ronaldo was a super sensation and regarded as the best forwards in the game. His best season with Manchester United came in 2007-08, when he scored 42 league and cup goals and won the Golden Boot with his 31st Europa League goal.
In May 2008, after helping Manchester United win the Champions League title, Ronaldo won the Federation Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) Player of the Year award for the 2007-08 season. He also appeared in the 2009 Champions League final where Manchester United lost to Barcelona.
Later Cristiano Ronaldo joined Spain’s Real Madrid—a popular football club which Ronaldo had long been rumored to want to play—with transfer fee of £80 million (about $131 million). His goal scoring records continued with his new club Real Madrid, and in the 2010-11 season he scored the most goals (40) in La Liga history (a record broken by Barcelona rival Lionel Messi the following season).
In 2011-12, Ronaldo helped his club Real Madrid win the La Liga title and scored a league-best 46 goals in one season. In 2013, Cristiano scored total 66 goals in 56 games for his club Real Madrid and Portugal national team, that earned him his World Player of the Year award for the second time (he won the FIFA Ballon d’Or in 2010).
Ronaldo scored total of 52 goals in 43 games and led Real Madrid to the Champions League title in 2014, which led to Ronaldo winning the Ballon d’Or. He scored 48 goals in La Liga in 2014-15. Ronaldo became the club’s top scorer in October 2015, scoring his 324th goal as a member of Real Madrid. He scored 35 goals in La Liga in 2015-16, helping Real Madrid to a record 11th Champions League title, and won his fourth career Ballon d’Or for his performance in December 2016.
Ronaldo scored total 42 goals for Real Madrid in all matches in year 2016-17 , leading his team to the La Liga and Champions League titles that season, won the Ballon d’Or for the fifth time in his career. In 2017-18, he scored 44 goals in 44 games as Real won their third Champions League title.
In July 2018, Cristiano signed a four-year contract with Italian powerhouse Juventus worth €112 million (around $132 million). He finished his Real Madrid career with 311 goals in 292 games. He scored 28 goals in his first season with Juventus, his lowest domestic tally since last season with Manchester United – the powerhouse club won the Italian league for the eighth time.
In the 2019-20 season, Ronaldo helped the club to another league title, with Juventus winning the 2020 Supercoppa Italiana and the 2021 Coppa Italia Final. A few months later after the last match, Cristiano left Juventus and returned to Manchester United. However, his second spell with the club proved disappointing and the contract ends by “mutual consent” in January 2022. The following month, Ronaldo signed a contract with the Saudi Arabian club Al Nassr.
Cristiano Ronaldo’s International Career
On home soil, after coming through the youth ranks and turning 21, Ronaldo made his full Portugal international debut against Kazakhstan in August 2003 (four days after his United debut). He was a key player in Portugal’s fourth-place team at the 2006 World Cup and became full captain of the national team in 2008. In 2012, his impressive performance took Portugal to the semi-finals of the European Championship, where his team was eliminated. Ronaldo was involved in his second Player of the Year win at the 2014 World Cup, but his performance in the tournament was uneventful and the entire Portugal team struggled in the group stage.
In 2016, Portugal won the European Championship, the country’s first major international tournament title, but missed the final due to a knee injury early in the game. Ronaldo had an incredible performance at the 2018 World Cup, scoring four goals in four games as Portugal advanced to the knockout stages, only to lose their opening game of the tournament to a defensively strong Uruguayan side. Four years later, Ronaldo became the first male player to score in five different World Cups. However, he was not included in the starting lineup for several matches and Portugal lost in the quarter-finals of the 2022 World Cup.
Endorsements and Legal Issues
Ronaldo is one of the most popular sports stars on the field, and many studies of sports popularity show that he was the most loved athlete in the world during his peak game. Cristiano’s popularity made him one of the highest paid players in history of sports, and he became the third person (after basketball superstars Michael Jordan and LeBron James) to sign a “lifetime” contract with sports company Nike in November 2016. He also launched the successful CR7 brand, which includes shoes, underwear and fragrances.
Ronaldo’s huge market became the center of a legal challenge in June 2017. In the same month, prosecutors filed a case against Ronaldo, accusing him of defrauding the Spanish government of 14.7 million euros ($16.5 million) by hiding his income in Spain since 2011- 2014. He has been accused of underestimating his income from the sale and licensing of image rights and tax liability, but Ronaldo has denied the allegations. However, in June 2018, he received a two-year suspended prison sentence and agreed to pay 18.8 million euros ($21.8 million) to the Spanish government to settle the case.