Cristiano Ronaldo, born on February 5, 1985, in Funchal, Madeira, Portugal, stands as a footballing icon, captivating the world with his extraordinary talent and achievements. Widely regarded as one of the greatest players in the history of the sport, Ronaldo’s journey from the youth ranks to becoming a global sensation has been nothing short of remarkable.
Early Years and Sporting CP
Ronaldo’s footballing odyssey commenced in the youth academy of Andorinha, followed by Nacional and Sporting CP. His rapid rise at Sporting CP’s senior team, where he showcased immense skill and goal-scoring prowess, attracted the attention of football giants.
Manchester United Triumph
In 2003, Ronaldo made a groundbreaking move to Manchester United. His impact was immediate, winning the FA Cup in his debut season and contributing significantly to three consecutive Premier League titles. At the age of 23, he clinched his first Ballon d’Or, marking the beginning of a glittering individual career.
Real Madrid Era
The football world witnessed the most expensive transfer in history when Ronaldo moved to Real Madrid in 2009 for €94 million (£80 million). Forming a formidable attacking trio with Karim Benzema and Gareth Bale, Ronaldo played a pivotal role in Real Madrid’s four Champions League victories from 2014 to 2018, including the historic La Décima.
Records And Achievements
During his tenure at Real Madrid, Ronaldo set numerous records, becoming the club’s all-time top scorer and the Champions League’s leading goal-scorer for six consecutive seasons (2012-2018). His list of accolades includes five Ballon d’Or awards, three UEFA Men’s Player of the Year Awards, and four European Golden Shoes.
In 2018, Ronaldo embarked on a new chapter with Juventus, marking a transfer worth an initial €100 million (£88 million). His impact in Italy was immediate, winning two Serie A titles, two Supercoppa Italiana trophies, and a Coppa Italia. He became the Serie A Most Valuable Player and the first player to top the goal-scoring charts in the English, Spanish, and Italian leagues.
Return To Manchester United
The year 2021 saw Ronaldo’s return to Manchester United, where he finished as the club’s top scorer in his only full season. However, in 2022, his contract was terminated, leading to speculation about his next move.
Al Nassr And Current Chapter
In 2023, Cristiano Ronaldo signed with Al Nassr, a Saudi Pro League club, showcasing his continued passion for the game. As he dons the number 7 jersey, Ronaldo adds a new chapter to his storied career, aiming to make an impact in a different football landscape.
International Glory And Leadership
On the international stage, Ronaldo’s journey with the Portugal national team is equally illustrious. Making his debut in 2003 at the age of 18, he has earned more than 200 caps, making him the most-capped player in the country’s history. His leadership skills came to the forefront when he assumed the captaincy in July 2008.
Major Tournament Triumphs
Ronaldo has played and scored in eleven major tournaments, beginning with Euro 2004, where he helped Portugal reach the final. In 2016, he led Portugal to their first major tournament title in Euro 2016, receiving the Silver Boot as the second-highest goalscorer. His leadership continued with victory in the UEFA Nations League in 2019 and the Golden Boot in Euro 2020.
Off The Pitch Stardom
Beyond the football pitch, Ronaldo’s impact extends into the realms of marketing and fame. Forbes ranked him as the world’s highest-paid athlete in 2016, 2017, and 2023. ESPN acknowledged him as the world’s most famous athlete from 2016 to 2019. In 2014, Time included him on their list of the 100 most influential people in the world.
In a groundbreaking achievement, Ronaldo became the first footballer and the third sportsman to earn $1 billion in his career, a testament to his global appeal and marketability.
Cristiano Ronaldo’s personal life is marked by family, children, and relationships, offering a glimpse into the man behind the footballing legend.
Ronaldo became a father for the first time on June 17, 2010, when his son was born in the United States. The identity of the mother remains undisclosed, adhering to an agreement between Ronaldo and her. In 2017, Ronaldo expanded his family, welcoming twins born via surrogacy on June 8, 2017, in the United States.
Relationships And Heartbreaks:
In January 2015, Ronaldo’s five-year relationship with Russian model Irina Shayk came to an end. The football star has since found companionship with Argentine-born Spanish model Georgina Rodríguez. The couple celebrated the birth of their daughter on November 12, 2017. In 2022, Ronaldo and Rodríguez anticipated the arrival of a pair of twins, tragically losing the male twin during childbirth while the female twin survived.
Loss And Family Ties
Ronaldo’s personal life has been marked by loss. In September 2005, his father, José, passed away at the age of 52 due to an alcoholism-related liver condition when Ronaldo was 20.
Unconventional Living Arrangement:
In January 2023, after Ronaldo’s move to Saudi Arabia with his family following his signing with Al Nassr, he became an exception to the rule prohibiting unmarried couples from living together. Saudi authorities, despite laws against cohabitation without a marriage contract, reportedly turned a blind eye to Ronaldo’s situation.
Ronaldo is of Cape Verdean descent through his great-grandmother and identifies as a Roman Catholic, adding cultural richness to his personal narrative.
Ronaldo has consciously maintained a healthy lifestyle. He abstains from alcohol consumption and, in fact, received libel damages over a Daily Mirror article falsely reporting heavy drinking in a nightclub while recovering from an injury in July 2008.
Blood and Marrow Donation:
As part of his commitment to altruism, Ronaldo does not have any tattoos. His regular donations of blood and bone marrow reflect a broader dedication to contributing positively to society.
In July 2017, Ronaldo faced allegations of fraudulently evading nearly €15 million in tax between 2011 and 2014, which he initially denied. In June 2018, he received a two-year suspended jail sentence and an €18.8 million fine, later reduced to €16.8 million after reaching an agreement with Spanish authorities.
Ronaldo faced serious legal scrutiny over rape allegations in different instances. In 2005, he and another man were investigated by the British Crown Prosecution Service after a rape allegation, which was later withdrawn by the accusers.
In 2017, Las Vegas Police Department investigated a woman’s claim of rape in 2009. Ronaldo settled with the woman for US$375,000 in a non-disclosure agreement. While denying all accusations, he faced intense media scrutiny. In July 2019, Las Vegas prosecutors decided not to charge Ronaldo due to insufficient evidence. However, the woman filed a civil lawsuit in September 2018, seeking £56 million in damages. The lawsuit was ultimately dismissed in June 2022, with the judge criticizing the use of hacked documents and citing the lawyer’s actions as abuses of the legal process.