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Cristiano Ronaldo


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Cristiano Ronaldo dos Santos Aveiro, (born 5 February 1985 in Funchal, Madeira), better known as Cristiano Ronaldo, is a professional Portuguese footballer. He plays for the English club Manchester United and Portugal. Ronaldo has played primarily as a winger for United and can play on either wing. He has additionally also played in a central attacking role for Manchester United as well as a second striker.


Ronaldo was born in Madeira, Portugal, to Maria Dolores dos Santos Aveiro and the late José Dinis Aveiro (1954 – London, 5 September 2005). He has one older brother, Hugo (b. 1975), and two elder sisters, Elma (b. 1974) and Liliana Cátia (b. Madeira, 5 October 1976). Liliana Cátia works as a singer by the stage name "Ronalda" in Portugal. Cristiano's second given name ("Ronaldo") is relatively rare in Portugal. His parents named him after former Hollywood actor and U.S. President Ronald Reagan due to his father's respect for the man.[2] Having two given names is a common feature in Portuguese names.

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Playing style

Ronaldo is a two-footed player, thus allowing him to play anywhere up front: right, left or through the middle. This has enabled Ronaldo and left winger Ryan Giggs to switch wings occasionally, allowing Manchester United to further confuse their opponents. [3]

Ronaldo has superb technical ability. Besides his multiple step-over moves, he also developed a wide array of skills, making him a tricky and unpredictable winger to come up against. [4]Ronaldo's pace and blistering runs, either down the wings or cutting into the middle, has further established him as an important player to Manchester United. [5]

Ronaldo is also regarded as one of the best players in the world by other professionals in the game as well. [6] [7] [8] [9] [10]


Early Career

He began kicking a football when he was three, and when he started primary school at age six, his passion for the sport was obvious. His favourite boyhood team was SL Benfica even though he would later join their rival, Sporting. He first played for an amateur team, Andorinha, where his father was the kit man, when he was just eight years old. By 1995, at just ten years of age, Cristiano Ronaldo's reputation was growing in Portugal. Madeira's top two teams, CS Marítimo and CD Nacional were both interested in signing him. Marítimo, the bigger team, missed a crucial meeting with Rui Santos manager of Andorinha, and as a result Ronaldo signed for Nacional. After a title-winning campaign at Nacional, Ronaldo went on a three day trial with Sporting who subsequently signed him for an undisclosed sum. [11]

Sporting Clube de Portugal

Ronaldo joined Sporting's other youth players who trained at the Alcochete, the club's "football factory," where he received first-class instruction. In his first few months in Lisbon, he had to defend himself from the rest of the local players as they had taunted him over his Madeiran accent. A growth spurt had also obstructed his progress at the club. However, Ronaldo eventually went on to become the only player in Sporting’s history to play for the Under-16, Under-17, Under-18, B team and first-team within a season.[12] Sporting realised that Ronaldo needed more support and arranged for his mother to join him. He made scored 2 goals on his Sporting debut against Moreirense. He also featured for Portugal in the UEFA Under 17 Championships. [13]

His performances at the UEFA Under 17 championship drew him to the attention of the wider football world. He was first spotted by former Liverpool F.C. manager Gérard Houllier at the age of 16. However, Liverpool later declined him because he was too young and needed some time to develop into a top footballer.[14] However, he came to the attention of Sir Alex Ferguson in the summer of 2003, when Sporting beat Manchester United 3 – 1 in the inauguration of the Alvalade XXI stadium in Lisbon. Ronaldo demonstrated his ability to play on both wings. His performance in the match impressed the Manchester United players, who spoke to their manager about a possible transfer bid for Ronaldo. [15]

Manchester United

Ferguson decided that he wanted the youngster for his team, who were in the market for a right-sided midfielder with the departure of David Beckham to Real Madrid; Ronaldo was signed for a fee of £12.24 million[16], becoming the club's first ever Portugese player. Ronaldo was handed the number 7 shirt on his arrival, a shirt number that has belonged to some of the greatest Manchester United legends like George Best, Bryan Robson, Eric Cantona and David Beckham. Ronaldo initially asked for the number 28 which he wore at Sporting, as he did not want the pressure of living up to expectations with the number 7. "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".[17]

Ronaldo made his debut for Manchester United as a 60th minute substitute against Bolton Wanderers at Old Trafford. Ronaldo amazed the crowd with his trickery , troubling the Bolton defence. The match ended in a 4-0 Manchester United win. On 29 October 2005, Ronaldo scored Manchester United's 1000th Premiership goal, in a 4-1 loss at the hands of Middlesbrough. He bagged a double double in February, with two goals at home to Fulham and another pair at Fratton Park, and also scored in the following Premiership game against Wigan taking his tally to 8 Premiership goals. On 26 February 2006, Ronaldo played in the Carling Cup Final against Wigan in the Millennium Stadium at Cardiff, and scored a goal - taking his season's tally to 10 goals He was named FIFPro Special Young Player of the Year 2005, the only award to be voted for by fans. He received the same accolade the following year in 2006. He was also ranked 20th in the FIFA Player of the Year 2005 standings.

In 2006, a row between him and Ruud van Nistelrooy at the Carrington training ground intensified speculation about their roles at the club.[18] However, Ronaldo signed a new deal with United that would last until 2010. Ronaldo said of the deal, "United have stood by me and been there for me and I want to repay that".[19]

Despite the World Cup incident, Ronaldo remained popular with the majority of Manchester United fans when he played (and scored) in his first Premiership match since the 2006 World Cup. Manchester United fans could clearly be heard chanting "there's only one Ronaldo" at various points in the game, in a 5-1 win over Fulham F.C.. He won the Barclays Player of the Month for November 2006. By December 2006, Ronaldo had become one of United's most influential players, scoring six goals in 3 league games to bring his overall tally up to 12 goals. He came on at half-time as a substitute against Wigan Athletic and immediately stamped his influence on the match with 2 goals in the space of a few minutes. Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson concedes he would lose his wager with the Portuguese in his current form after setting a target of 15 goals for the season. The Scot remarked that he was "pleased for him because he works hard at his game. He's still learning the game. His ability to pass the ball has helped him this season. His passing has been very good. That just shows he is maturing. He's been fantastic, and he's getting better all the time".[20] In December, he was awarded the Barclays Player of the Month Award for the second successive month, becoming the third ever player in the Premiership to do so (after Arsenal's Dennis Bergkamp in 1997 and Robbie Fowler in 1996).[21][22] Ronaldo scored his 50th goal for Manchester United in the game against arch-rivals Manchester City which turned out to be the decisive goal which helped Manchester United claim the Premiership for the first time in 4 years.

As the end of each season approached, particularly in 2006 and 2007, it became traditional for rumours to start floating that Ronaldo was unsettled at Manchester United and wanted to play for Real Madrid - the rumours frequently originating from the board of Real Madrid who were reported in April 2007 to be willing to pay an unprecedented €80 million (£54 million) for Ronaldo.[23] At the beginning of March 2007, however, Ronaldo, as well as Manchester United, confirmed that they would be negotiating an extension to his current contract. On 13 April 2007, Ronaldo signed a five-year, £120,000-a-week deal with United, making him the highest-paid player in United's history.[24] He said, "I am very happy at the club and I want to win trophies and hopefully we will do that this season".[25]

During the 2006-07 season, Ronaldo won the PFA Players' Player of the Year and PFA Young Player of the Year awards. He received the two awards during a ceremony on the 22nd of April, 2007. In addition to winning the two awards (an accomplishment that has only been matched once - in 1977 by Andy Gray),[26] Ronaldo was also named a member of the PFA Premiership Team of the Year, alongside seven of his fellow Manchester United teammates. On 24 April 2007, Ronaldo completed the treble by winning the PFA Fans' Player of the Year, an award which is given by winning the most votes from fans all over the United Kingdom. In addition, he was awarded the 2007 Portuguese Footballer of the Year, and at the beginning of May 2007 Ronaldo was also awarded the Football Writers' Association Award. He also received two awards from the club itself, the Player of the Year award, and the Fans' Player of the Year award.

Last season had been tainted with several diving incidents. During a match with Middlesbrough F.C, he was criticised for diving by rival manager Gareth Southgate.[27] On 4 February 2007, in a match against Tottenham Hotspur F.C., Ronaldo was caught in yet another diving controversy, after winning United a controversial penalty despite seeming to receive little or no contact from Tottenham's Steed Malbranque.[28]

Ronaldo has occasionally had problems with his temper during games, he was sent off in a game against Manchester City and received a one-match ban imposed by UEFA for a "one-fingered gesture" towards Benfica fans in a UEFA Champions League match in December 2005.[29] While playing for Portugal in a friendly against Luxembourg he was given a yellow card for pushing Jeff Strasser in the throat in retaliation after Strasser tackled him. Felipe Scolari warned Ronaldo to keep his temper in check during the World Cup.[30] Cristiano Ronaldo was dismissed due to an altercation with Portsmouth Player Richard Hughes, in a Premiership game on the Wednesday, 15 August 2007, and was therefore banned for the subsequent 3 games. He felt really disappointed for not playing, and promised to keep his temper in the future.[31]

During United's second match of the 2007-08 season against Portsmouth, Ronaldo was sent off for his alleged headbutt of Richard Hughes earning him an automatic three match ban. After the match, Sir Alex Ferguson claimed that Ronaldo had "fallen into the trap".[32] In his first game following the ban, Ronaldo scored the only goal in the 60th minute of a Champions League away game against Sporting Lisbon on return to his old club. He was given a standing ovation by the Sporting supporters for his muted celebrations following the goal. Following this match, Ronaldo has kept his goalscoring boots on in the away fixture against Birmingham F.C. The goalscoring continued with a brace against Wigan Athletic F.C.. Ronaldo contributed 3 goals in both the home and away fixtures against Dynamo Kiev, a goal against Arsenal F.C and another brace against Blackburn Rovers. An injury time winner in the home fixture against Sporting Lisbon has brought a tally of 11 goals in 14 matches this season.

International career

Ronaldo had previously played for Portugal at the 2002 UEFA European Under-17 Championship and at the U18 and U21 level. He eventually made his full international debut in August 2003, coming on in the second half of a 1-0 victory against Kazakhstan. Ronaldo scored Portugal's only goal in their 2-1 loss to Greece in the opening match of Euro 2004 and the first goal of the semi final against the Netherlands, which Portugal won 2-1. The final saw a rematch of the opening game of the tournament, Greece emerged victorious. Even though Ronaldo could not add to his two goals, his performances at the tournament earned him a place in the team of the tournament. [33]

Ronaldo subsequently represented Portugal at the 2004 Summer Olympics, and was the second highest scorer in FIFA World Cup qualification in the European zone with 7 goals. [33]

Ronaldo scored his first World Cup goal against Iran with a penalty kick. [34]In the Round of 16, he left Portugal's 1-0 win over Netherlands injured after a high tackle by Khalid Boulahrouz. [35] However, he returned in the next match in the quarter - final against England.

Ronaldo was named the national team captain for the first time in a friendly match against Brazil on February 6, 2007, a day after his 22nd birthday. This move was in honor of the Portuguese Football Federation president, Carlos Silva, who had died two days before. Scolari explained, "Mr Silva asked me to make him captain as a gesture. He thought the English fans would give him a difficult time and this was a response. He is too young to be captain, but Mr Silva asked me, and now he is no longer with us."[36]

Ronaldo scored a total of 8 goals in Portugal's UEFA Euro 2008 qualifying campaign. [37]

World Cup incident

On 8 July 2006, after the sending off of United team-mate Wayne Rooney for stamping on Ricardo Carvalho in the Quarter Final of the 2006 World Cup between England and Portugal, there was much speculation in the English media that he had influenced Rooney's red card by complaining aggressively to the referee. Ronaldo has said that Rooney was a friend, and that he was not trying to get Rooney a red card.[38] Rooney said, "I bear no ill feeling to Cristiano but am disappointed that he chose to get involved."[39]

The Sun published a dart board with a picture of Ronaldo as the bull's-eye in a similar fashion to the one made after the 1998 World Cup for David Beckham by The Daily Mirror, another English tabloid.[40][41][42] The angry reaction in England forced Ronaldo to consider leaving United. After the incident, he told reporters that he thought he "should get out of Manchester as the circumstances are not right to keep playing there".[43] He allegedly told the Spanish sports daily Marca that he wished to move to Real Madrid.[44]

In response to the speculation, Sir Alex Ferguson sent his assistant manager Carlos Queiroz to speak to Ronaldo in Portugal, hoping to change the young player's mind,[45] whilst Rooney pleaded with Ronaldo not to leave the team.[46] Ronaldo chose to stay on at United and signed a new five-year contract months later. [47]

Ronaldo was booed by some French and English fans during Portugal's semi-final defeat against France, and missed out on the tournament's Best Young Player award, partly due to an e-mail campaign against him by England fans.[48] Though the online vote only affected the nomination process, FIFA Technical Study Group awarded the honours to Germany's Lukas Podolski, citing Ronaldo's behaviour as a factor.[49]

Personal life

Ronaldo has previously dated model Jordana Jardel, talk-show host Merche Romero, and Hollyoaks star Gemma Atkinson. Ronaldo was recently seen kissing Bollywood beauty Bipasha Basu at a nightclub in Lisbon. He is now rumoured to be dating Portuguese singer/actress Luciana Abreu.

In October of 2005, Ronaldo and another man were questioned by police for an alleged sexual assault. Ronaldo denied the accusation and the Crown Prosecution Service stated there was insufficient evidence to press charges.[50]In September 2007, Ronaldo caused controversy again when he was involved in an alleged sexually-based incident with some girls in Leeds along with new team mates Anderson and Nani who are residing at Ronaldo's house while they settle into English life. The girls sold their story to the Sunday Mirror [51] and the News of the World, although Alex Ferguson decided not to punish him.

Ronaldo has done charity work, as well as flying out Martunis, an 11-year-old Indonesian tsunami survivor and his father to attend one of their World Cup qualifiers in June 2005; covering all their expenses. Subsequently all the players contributed money to buy them a house in Indonesia.[52][53] After the two World Cup qualifiers, Ronaldo flew to Indonesia to visit the areas affected by the tsunami and to raise funds. He met the Vice President of the Indonesian Republic Jusuf Kalla and the President of East Timor Xanana Gusmão, and raised £66,000 (about $130,000 USD) by auctioning off his personal sports gear in Jakarta, Indonesia.[54]


Team honours with Manchester United

  • FA Premier League: 2006-2007
  • FA Cup: 2004
  • Football League Cup: 2006
  • Community Shield: 2007

Individual honours and awards

  • PFA Players' Player of the Year: 2007
  • PFA Young Player of the Year: 2007
  • PFA Fans' Player of the Year: 2007
  • PFA Premiership Team of the Year: 2005-2006, 2006-2007
  • Football Writers' Association Award: 2007
  • Barclays Player of the Season: 2006-2007
  • Barclays Player of the Month: November 2006, December 2006
  • PFA Fans' Player of the Month: October 2006, February 2007
  • FIFPro Special Young Player of the Year: 2005, 2006
  • Portuguese Sports Personality: 2006
  • Portuguese Footballer of the Year: 2007
  • Sir Matt Busby Player of the Year: 2006-2007
  • Manchester United Players' Player of the Year: 2006-2007
  • FIFPro World XI: 2006-2007

Special achievements

  • One of only two players to have won both the PFA Players' Player of the Year and PFA Young Player of the Year awards in the same year, the other being Andy Gray in 1977.
  • Also won the PFA Fans' Player of the Year award, becoming the first player to win all three Professional Footballers Association awards in one season.
  • Only the third player in Premiership history to win back-to-back Barclays Player of the Month awards, and the first since the 1995-1996 season.
  • Holds the Premiership record for most goals scored in one season by a midfielder, having scored 17 times during the 2006-2007 Premiership campaign.
  • One of only two players to feature in the PFA Premiership Team of the Year for both the 2005-2006 and 2006-2007 seasons, the other being Steven Gerrard.

Non-hereditary Orders and Titles

Orders and decorations received by Cristiano Ronaldo:

  • Officer of the Order of Infante D. Henrique (Portugal)
  • Medal of Merit, Order of the Immaculate Conception of Vila Viçosa (House of Braganza).[55]

Career stats

All-Time Club Performance
Club Season
Goals Assts
Sporting Clube de Portugal 2002-03 3 -
Total 3 -
Manchester United 2003-04 6 4
2004-05 9 4
2005-06 12 7
2006-07 23 20
2007-08 11 1
Total 61 35
Career Totals 64 35


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