Soccer player Cristiano Ronaldo dos Santos Aveiro was born on the island of Madeira in Portugal on May 5, 1985. Known as Cristiano Ronaldo to soccer fans, he began playing soccer as a child and by the age of 10 had earned the notice of Madeira’s soccer community. Since signing with Real Madrid in 2009, Ronaldo is regularly the object of media attention for his actions on and off the soccer field. ESPN Soccernet rates Ronaldo as the second most well-known soccer player in the world after David Beckham.
Early Life and Career
Ronaldo’s parents, José Diniz Aveiro and Maria Dolores dos Santos Aveiro, raised him in a working class community with his three older siblings. Ronaldo’s father named him for President Ronald Reagan. He started playing football at a small local soccer club where his father was the equipment manager. Ronaldo honed his soccer skills as a youth playing for Nacional da Ilha da Madeira, another local team, and gained a reputation as one of Madeira’s best soccer players. At the age of 13, Ronaldo signed with Sporting Lisbon’s schoolboy team for a monthly salary.
Ronald played for Sporting Lisbon’s adult soccer team from 2001 to 2003. He is the only player in Sporting Lisbon’s history to be promoted by four academy teams before his debut. Ronaldo stood out in his first game in which he scored a brace and was on the winning team in 2001 in Portugal’s Liga. When he was 16 years old, the Liverpool manager saw him play and passed on signing a player he believed was too young.
In 2003, when Ronaldo was 18 years old and still playing for Sporting Lisbon, his team won a friendly against Manchester United. A week later, Man U manager Alex Ferguson signed Ronaldo, paying a record transfer fee for an adolescent. Ronaldo’s salary increased from less than $2,000 monthly to about $190,000 monthly. After some hesitation, Ronaldo requested the No. 7 jersey, the same number worn by greats George Best and David Beckham. In 2006, Ronaldo, playing for Portugal, fell out of favor with fans over what was considered poor sportsmanship and diving during the World Cup.
On July 1st, 2009, Ronaldo Cristiano joined Real Madrid. Real Madrid paid Manchester United a $131 million transfer fee for Ronaldo, a record for one player, and paid Ronaldo a record salary of about $100 million. As of 2013, Ronaldo continues to play for Real Madrid and to wear his No. 7 jersey. He wears the number 17 when playing for Portugal. He continues to set records and in early 2013 continues to be one of the top European scorers.
Throughout his career, Ronaldo has earned more than 20 awards, including a dozen player-of-the-year awards, the FIFA World Player award and the UEFA Forward of the year. He was named the Portuguese Footballer of the Year in 2006 and 2007. As captain of Portugal, Ronaldo led his team in the 2010 World Cup. And in 2011, as the top scorer in Europe, Ronaldo won the prestigious Golden Boot.