Former Portuguese football (soccer) forward Cristiano Ronaldo, whose full name is Cristiano Ronaldo dos Santos Aveiro, is generally regarded as one of the finest players of his age. In Funchal, Madeira, Portugal, he was born on February 5, 1985, February 5.
The equipment manager for the local club Andorinha was Ronaldo’s father, José Dinis Aveiro. (The name Ronaldo was added to Cristiano’s name in honor of his father’s favorite movie star, Ronald Reagan, who happened to be the president of the United States at the time of Cristiano’s birth.) Ronaldo was diagnosed with a cardiac problem at the age of 15 that required surgery, although he was only out for a short time and recovered well. He began his career with Madeira’s Clube Desportivo Nacional before joining Sporting Clube de Portugal (now Sporting Lisbon). He played for the club’s different junior squads until he made his first-team debut in 2002.
Ronaldo was a powerful athlete on the field, at 6 feet 1 inch (1.85 meters) tall. He began as a right-winger before evolving into a free-reined attacking striker. With a sleight of foot, he could hypnotize opponents and create enough space for holes in opposing defenses.
Ronaldo joined with English powerhouse Manchester United in 2003 after a good season with Sporting Lisbon that drew him to the attention of Europe’s major football teams. He became an overnight phenomenon and quickly established himself as one of the game’s top strikers. In 2007–08, he had his best season at United, scoring 42 League and Cup goals and winning the Golden Shoe title as Europe’s top scorer with 31 League goals. In May 2008, Ronaldo was named FIFA World Player of the Year for his outstanding 2007–08 season, which included helping United win the Champions League. United also made it to the 2009 Champions League final, when FC Barcelona defeated them.
Soon after, Ronaldo was transferred for a then-record £80 million (about $131 million) transfer price to Real Madrid in Spain, a club he had long been linked with. He maintained his scoring prowess with his new squad, scoring the most goals in La Liga history (40) during the 2010–11 season (his record was broken the following season by his rival Lionel Messi of Barcelona). In the 2011–12 season, Ronaldo scored a personal-best 46 goals for Real Madrid, helping them win La Liga. In 2013, he won his second FIFA World Player of the Year award (the FIFA World Player of the Year was renamed the FIFA Ballon d’Or in 2010) after scoring 66 goals in 56 matches for Madrid and the Portuguese national team.
Ronaldo won his second Ballon d’Or trophy in 2014, after scoring 52 goals in 43 games and leading Real Madrid to the Champions League triumph. He led La Liga in scoring in 2014–15 with 48 goals. Ronaldo became Real’s all-time greatest goal scorer after scoring his 324th goal in October 2015. Of 2015–16, he scored 35 La Liga goals and helped Real win the Champions League for the 11th time, and he was awarded his fourth Ballon d’Or in his career in December 2016. In 2016–17, Ronaldo scored 42 goals in all competitions for Real Madrid, leading the club to La Liga and Champions League crowns, earning him his fifth Ballon d’Or honor. He scored 44 goals in 44 appearances in 2017–18, helping Real win their third Champions League championship in a row. He signed a four-year deal with Italian powerhouse Juventus in July 2018 for €112 million (about $132 million). In 292 appearances for Real, he scored 311 goals. In his first season at Juventus, he scored 28 goals, his lowest domestic goal total since his last season with Manchester United, as the powerhouse club won its eighth consecutive Italian league championship.
Ronaldo made his first appearance for Portugal’s entire national team against Kazakhstan in August 2003, after progressing through the youth and under-21 categories in his homeland (four days after his debut for United). He was a vital figure in Portugal’s fourth-place result in the 2006 World Cup, and he took over as full-time captain in 2008. In 2012, his outstanding performance helped Portugal go to the European Championship semifinals, where Spain defeated them in a penalty kick shootout.
Ronaldo came into the 2014 Global Cup fresh off his second world player of the year award. Still, his performance was inconsistent throughout the tournament, and Portugal as a whole suffered through a group-stage elimination. Despite having played just a few minutes in the final owing to a knee injury he sustained early in the game, he helped Portugal win the European Triumph in 2016, the country’s first major international tournament championship. Ronaldo had a fantastic World Cup, scoring four goals in four games as Portugal proceeded to the knockout phase, only to lose their first encounter against a tenacious Uruguay defense.
Off the field, Ronaldo was one of the most well-known sportsmen, and various studies of athlete popularity revealed that he was the most famous athlete in the world throughout his playing days. Ronaldo became the third person (after basketball superstars Michael Jordan and LeBron James) to acquire a “lifetime” deal with Nike’s sportswear brand in November 2016. His extraordinary popularity made him one of the highest-paid endorsers in sports history.
He also launched his own profitable “CR7” footwear, undergarments, and perfumes. In June 2017, a legal dispute erupted about Ronaldo’s enormous marketability. Prosecutors charged Ronaldo with defrauding the Spanish government of €14.7 million ($16.5 million) by concealing his image-rights revenue in Spain from 2011 to 2014. Ronaldo was accused of underestimating his income from the sale and licensing of his image rights, as well as the tax duties that came with it, but he disputed all charges. In June 2018, he consented to a two-year suspended sentence and to pay the Spanish government €18.8 million ($21.8 million) to resolve the case.