Cristiano Ronaldo, or CR7, is widely regarded as being one of the world’s best, and most-decorated, footballers of all time. His full name is Cristiano Ronaldo dos Santos Aveiro, and he was named Ronaldo after former United States president Ronald Reagan, who was also his father’s favourite actor.
His mother was a cook and his father a municipal gardener. He is the youngest member of his family and has a brother named Hugo, as well as two older sisters named Elma and Liliana Catia.
Ronaldo knows what poverty is like as he grew up in a working-class neighbourhood and resided in a small tin-roofed shack that overlooked the ocean.
When Cristiano was eight, his father was the equipment manager of the amateur team, Andorinha, and this also happened to be his first club. In 1995, he joined his local club, Nacional, and showed tremendous potential at a young age. As a result of Cristiano’s impressive performances for Nacional, he earned himself a move to Portuguese giants Sporting Lisbon.
In 2003, Sporting played a pre-season friendly against Manchester United and staff from the Red Devils were so impressed by the youngster’s performance that the club ended up signing him during that summer for €12 million, which was a record fee for a player of his age at the time.
At United, Ronaldo received the number 7 shirt, which was also worn by other legends such as George Best, Bryan Robson, Eric Cantona and David Beckham.
Ronaldo made his debut for United during a 4-0 victory over Bolton Wanderers as a 60th-minute substitute, and scored his first goal from a free-kick during a victory over Portsmouth on 1 November 2003. During his time with the Red Devils, Ronaldo won three Premier League titles, an FA Cup, two League Cups, a Champions League and a Club World Cup in 2008.
In the year 2005, Ronaldo’s father, Jose Dinis Aveiro, passed away due to a liver disease caused due to heavy alcohol consumption. As a result, Ronaldo chooses not to indulge in alcohol consumption as it reminds him of the tragic fate of his father.
Ronaldo ended up moving to Real Madrid during the summer of 2009 for a then-world record fee of £80 million, and agreed to a six-year contract with the club. During his official introduction at the Santiago Bernabeu Stadium, more than 80,000 fans of Los Blancos turned up to greet their new hero.
Ronaldo has represented the Portugal national team since 2003 and has served as captain of the nation since 2008. The highlight of his international career came in 2016, when he led his country to Euro 2016 glory.
Away from the Game
In July 2010, Ronaldo announced that he had become a father to a boy named Cristiano Jr. To date, it is unknown who the mother of the baby is and Cristiano has said that her identity will never be publicly revealed. In June 2017, Ronaldo became a father to twins, who were born via surrogate, and in November 2017, his girlfriend Georgina Rodriguez gave birth to a daughter.
Off the pitch, Ronaldo is renowned for his philanthropy. In 2011, he was awarded the European Golden Boot for his stunning performances for Real Madrid. Rather than keep the award, however, he opted to sell it, managing to raise £1.2 million, which was used to build schools in Gaza.
In October 2017, he sold his 2013 Ballon d’Or award and managed to raise £500,000 with the funds going towards the Make-a-Wish Foundation.
Ronaldo is also an ambassador for three major charity organisations: UNICEF, Save the Children and World Vision, and has spoken for countless more.
Although CR7 may now be past his peak and approaching the final years of his career, he still appears as hungry as ever to play at the highest level and achieve success.