Full name: Cristiano Ronaldo dos Santos Aveiros
Cristiano Ronaldo Dos Santos Aveiro was born in Funchal, Madeira, in 1985. He has become famous as ‘Ronaldo’, but this is not his surname but his middle name. Ronaldo was in fact named after US President Ronald Reagan, a man who Ronaldo’s father greatly admired. Cristiano has managed to pack glory and controversy into a footballing career that has only just begun, famous as much for his off-pitch antics and histrionics as for his footwork on the Manchester United and Portuguese teams. During the 2006 World Cup, Ronaldo infamously seemed to persuade the referee to have Wayne Rooney sent off for an alleged foul. Rooney was playing for England against Ronaldo for Portugal, but the pair are team-mates on the Manchester United squad. Since then, Ronaldo has had to rebuild relations at United. However, his career continues apace, and despite a certain amount of aggression, his skill as a forward has earned him the respect of the fans, and of Rooney himself.
Like most football players, Ronaldo grew up kicking a ball around, and signed for his first club, Anhorinha, at the age of eight. By the time he was ten, he had signed with the nationally-respected CD Nacional, before swiftly moving on to one of Portugal’s great teams, Sporting Portugal, despite the fact that he had supported their arch-rivals, Benfica, as a child.
Playing for Sporting’s youth team in European tournaments, he came to the attention of scouts from all over the world, but it was Alex Ferguson who eventually singled him out as his next big thing. As a multi-tasker who could play on both wings, Ronaldo was a wise choice for the new blood in Ferguson’s team, despite missing a penalty in his first appearance.
Ferguson gave Ronaldo the famous number 7, the shirt belonging to some of the club’s greatest players: George Best, Eric Cantona, David Beckham.
During his career at United, Ronaldo has suffered loss of temper on-pitch and been accused of diving a number of times. He has promised to work on his issues, however, they have not seriously hindered his career. In the 2005-6 season Ronaldo was United’s darling, scoring in league matches and the Carling cup final. He was awarded fans’ award FIFPro Special Young Player of the Year in 2006. However, he put the well-earned respect of the United fans in jeopardy in one minute at the 2006 World Cup.
World Cup Incident
During a quarter-final match between England and Portugal, there was a moment of confusion after Wayne Rooney appeared to stamp on Portuguese player Ricardo Carvalho’s leg. Rooney has consistently denied the accusation, but during the ensuing argument, Ronaldo appeared to be particularly vociferous in persuading the referee that a red card was the only option. When a red card was duly given, to add insult to injury (if you will), Ronaldo appeared to turn to the subs’ bench and wink gleefully at his Portuguese team-mates. Portugal went on to win on penalties, and England were out of the cup.
The action not only ensured that Ronaldo was put out of the running for the title of Best Young Player, it also meant he had serious reparations to do if he wanted to return to United. At first he prepared to quit the club, but Alex Ferguson and Wayne Rooney both asked him to stay, and he made the decision to return for the next season.
Playing for Portugal
Ronaldo’s career for Portugal has been decent but not remarkable, despite a number of goals. In 2004, one year after Ronaldo’s national debut, Portugal made it to the finals of Euro 2004, where they were defeated by Greece. In the 2006 World Cup they made it to the semi-finals before being defeated by France.
Ronaldo also played football for his country in the 2004 Olympic Games, but failed to win any medals.
Return to England
On his return to England, Ronaldo did not encounter too much hostility from United supporters, and played well that season, winning Barclays Player of the Month in November and December 2006.
As Ronaldo’s contract neared an expiry date, speculation grew about whether he would move to Real Madrid. After the World Cup incident, he had hinted this might be a possibility. However, Ferguson brokered a deal that kept him in Manchester for around £120,000 per week, making him the highest-paid player at the club.
In 2007, Ronaldo’s skill was also rewarded with a number of awards recognising his merit. He won the PFA Player of the Year and PFA Young Player of the Year 2006-7; he was a member of the PFA Premiership Team of the year and finally, he was voted PFA Fans’ Player of the Year. He was also given awards both by Portugal and by Manchester United.
Ronaldo scored the decisive goal in a match against United’s rivals Manchester City. The goal was not only his 50th goal for the club, but it also turned out to be the goal which would send them to the top of the Premiership for the first time in four years.
At the beginning of the 2007/8 season, Ronaldo was sent off for apparently head-butting Portsmouth’s Richard Hughes. After the three-match ban had expired, he scored against his old club Sporting Lisbon in a Champions League match.
2001 – 2003Sporting Portugal
2003 – presentManchester United
2003 – presentPortugal
National Caps for Portugal (national team): 48
Goals scored for Portugal (national team): 19
Appearances for Sporting Portugal: 25
Goals scored for Sporting Portugal: 3
Appearances for Manchester United (to date): 199
Goals Scored for Manchester United (to date): 54
- Ronaldo’s most memorable moment to most English football fans will probably always remain his wink to the Portuguese subs bench after Rooney got sent off in Germany 2006. However, his other memorable moments have included both fame and infamy.
- Brokering a £120,000 a week deal with United.
- Receiving two separate national honours from the Portugese government.
- Record-breaking as the midfielder who has scored the most goals in the Premiership’s history.
- Questioning by police in September 2007 after two call girls alleged that Ronaldo and one other man had had an orgy with them. Sir Alex was not impressed.
- Being named captain of the Portuguese football team in February 2007 – as the dying wish of Portugal’s Football Federation’s outgoing President.
Ronaldo has been linked with a number of young women, from Hollyoaks actresses to Bollywood stars via glamour models and escort girls. However, he shows no signs of giving up his gold-card to a wannabe WAG just yet…
Instead, he spends his massive amounts of money on charity work. He has done a lot of work to help victims of the 2005 Indian Ocean tsunami by raising awareness and donating funds. In 2006 he flew out an 11-year old victim, with his father, to watch the 2006 World Cup in Germany.
Ronaldo also owns a clothing store in his home town in Portugal, which is managed by his sisters.
I do not believe Cristiano Ronaldo has the rhythm to follow up last season’s achievements. He is not a machine.
– Didier Drogba, before the start of Ronaldo’s second season at United.
I bear no ill feeling to Cristiano but am disappointed he chose to get involved. – Wayne Rooney, after the 2006 World Cup.
I would be very proud if, one day, I’m held in the same esteem as George Best or Beckham. It’s what I’m working hard towards.
He wasn’t angry with me and, moreover, he told me to completely ignore what the English press has said, that all they wanted was to create confusion, but we are already used to that. – On Wayne Rooney, after the 2006 World Cup.
I’m living a dream I never want to wake up from.
- PFA Players’ Player of the Year – 2006-7, 2007-8
- PFA Young Player of the Year – 2006-7
- PFA Fans’ Player of the Year – 2006-7, 2007-8
- PFA Team of the Year – 2005-6, 2006-7, 2007-8
- FWA Footballer of the Year – 2006-7, 2007-8
- Barclays Player of the Season – 2006-7, 2007-8
- Barclays Player of the Month – November 2006, December 2006, January 2008, March 2008
- Barclays Golden Boot – 2007-8
- European Golden Shoe – 2007-8
- FIFPro Special Young Player of the Year – 2004-5, 2005-6
- UEFA Club Footballer of the Year – 2007-8
- UEFA Club Forward of the Year – 2007-8
- U-21 European Footballer of the Year – 2003-4