In the world of football, Cristiano Ronaldo is a household name. He is often regarded as one of the best footballers to ever exist. His performance in every match, his titles, and his awards prove that he is an outstanding player with immense ability.
However, Cristiano Ronaldo’s life was not always this glamorous. You may see him now with tons of trophies, money, and an expensive lifestyle, but he is a football success story. A boy, who rose out of his socioeconomic lifestyle and made his ideal life a reality.
This professional Portuguese player is currently a part of the Premier League Club, Manchester United, and is also the captain of the Portuguese National Team. However, to get here, he has had to work extremely hard and overcome many challenges and hardships. The journey to the top is never easy, but Ronaldo has managed to prove that he is indeed worthy of the best footballer title.
Ronaldo has had many club changes throughout his career, but in the end, he returned to his first Premier League club. He has also won many prestigious football awards, such as Ballond’ Or award, which he has won multiple times.
Cristiano Ronaldo had a humble childhood. He was born on February 5, 1985, and was the youngest of four children. He had two older sisters, Elma and Liliana Caita, and one older brother, Hugo. His parents were Maria Dolores dos Santos Averiro, and Jose Dinis Aveiro.
His mother, Maria Dolores dos Santos Aveiro was a cook, and his father, Jose Dinis Aveiro was a gardener. Both parents did not earn a lot and worked extremely hard to fulfill the basic necessities for their family. They lived in a mountainous neighborhood of Funchal, Maderia, in Santo Antonio, where Ronaldo shared a room with all his siblings.
Their family life was fraught with difficulties, and due to their economic conditions, Ronaldo’s mom revealed that she wanted to abort her youngest when she found out she was pregnant because they were extremely poor and could not afford to feed another mouth. This decision was also due to Ronaldo’s alcoholism.
To perform the procedure, she went to her doctor, but he refused to perform it. Maria then had to carry the pregnancy full-term, and in the end, she gave birth to a boy, who grew up to change his family’s luck.
Ronaldo’s father, Jose was a football enthusiast and ensured that all his children had a childhood immersed in football. Therefore, they grew up knowing all about football and playing it. When he was just a child, Ronaldo played for Andorinha, a football club located in his area, from 1992 to 1995. His father was a kit man there, and he encouraged his youngest to pursue football if he enjoyed it.
These encouragements led Ronaldo to put his all into football. After three years at Andorinha, he spent two years with Nacional, another Portuguese football club. In 1997, he made his big break when at age 12, he went on a three-day trial with Sporting CP, who accepted him and signed him for a 1500 pound fee.
By the time Ronaldo turned 14, it had become clear that he had the ability to play football professionally. He convinced his mother to let him stop his studies and focus completely on football. However, he had been expelled from school, because he had thrown a chair at one of his teachers. Ronaldo claimed that the teacher had disrespected him.
A year later, he was diagnosed with tachycardia. This condition, where the heartbeat is higher than usual, may have been something that ended his football career, but Ronaldo pushed through. He underwent heart surgery, where the doctors used lasers to cauterize multiple cardiac pathways into one. Therefore, they managed to alter his resting heart rate, and it became lower and, thus, normal.
Journey Through Clubs
At 16 years old, Ronaldo rose from the Sporting’s youth teams and became the youngest player to play for the club. He played for the under 16, under 17, under 18, the B team, and the first team within a single season.
A year later, Ronaldo made his debut on 29 September 2002, when he played a match against Primeira Liga. On October 7, he played another match against Moreirense and ended up scoring 2 out of the 3 goals for his team, leading them to a 3-0 victory.
His form on the field attracted many managers from bigger clubs. His representatives suggested him to Gerard Houllier, Liverpool’s manager, and Joan Laporta, Barcelona’s president. Arsenal’s president, Arsene Wenger was interested in signing Ronaldo and even met with him at Arsenal’s training grounds. There they discussed his possible transfer, which did not end up happening.
The club that was most determined to acquire him was Alex Ferguson, the manager of Manchester United. He wanted an urgent move after Sporting defeated them 3-1 in August 2003. The initial plan was to sign Ronaldo to Manchester United and then loan him to Sporting for a year. However, he impressed the Manchester United players so much that they urged Alex Ferguson to sign him.
Listening to the team, Ferguson paid 12.24 million to Sporting for Ronaldo. He claimed that Cristiano Ronaldo was one of the most exciting young players that he had ever seen.
The move to Manchester United was completed on 12 August 2003, and he became the first Portuguese player to sign for the club. At the time when his transfer took place, his transfer fee earned him the title of the most expensive teenager in English football history.
At United, he received the number 7 shirt, despite requesting for 28, his number at Sporting, which was worn by legendary United players such as Eric Cantona, George Best, and David Beckham. Later on, the number 7 became a source of motivation for Ronaldo.
He made his debut as a substitute in a match against Bolton Wanderers, in a Premier League, on 16 August 2003. The team won the match 4-0, and when he came in as a replacement for Nicky Butt, his performance excited the crowd, who gave him a standing ovation and claimed that his debut was the most exciting to date.
He scored his first goal for the club over Portsmouth on 1 November. United won the match 3-0, and Ronaldo scored with a free kick. In the second half of the same campaign, he scored three more times.
During his third season with England, Ronaldo got involved in a series of incidents that caused UEDA to impose a one-match ban on him for using a one-fingered gesture. This gesture was aimed at Benfica fans, which caused an uproar. He was also sent off the field in the Manchester derby because he kicked Andy Cole, Manchester City’s former United player. He also clashed with several of his teammates.
Due to these incidences, he asked for a transfer publicly by stating that he felt he was not supported well in the club over the incidents. However, Machester United denied him the possibility, and he had to stay.
Staying at Manchester United proved to be the correct decision since Ronaldo won many awards because of his performance. He assisted in many goals, hit many goals himself, and won the 2008 Ballon d’Or and the 2008 FIFA World Player of the Year. With this award, Ronaldo became the first United player to win the Ballon d’Or since 1968. He was also the first Premier League player to be named the FIFA World Player of the Year.
Before the beginning of the 2009-2010 season, Ronaldo transferred to Real Madrid for a fee that was a world record transfer fee of the time. By paying 80 million pounds, Real Madrid was able to acquire a world-class player. This contract was until 2015 and was worth 11 million Euros per year. Furthermore, the buyout clause was 1 billion pounds.
His debut with Real Madrid was against Deportivo La Coruna on 29 August, and he managed to score a penalty and win the match 3-2 on home ground. Additionally, he also scored in all of his first four league matches. He is the first Real Madrid player to do so.
Ronaldo did not start with the number 7 shirt, but after the departure of Raul, Ronaldo got the number 7 shirt and wore it in the 2010-11 season. It was in this season that Ronaldo regained his form, and he was better than ever, as he scored four goals in one game and won 6-1 against Racing Santander.
In the next season, Ronaldo scored 60 goals, which was a personal best for him. However, it was not enough to beat Messi for the 2011 FIFA Ballon d’Or. In the next season of 2012-13, he became the first Spanish player in 60 years to become the captain of Real Madrid.
Ronaldo maintained his form in the 2014-15 season, as he scored 61 goals, a new personal best, and managed to win the 2014 Ballon d’Or. His team also won the 2014 FIFA Club World Cup.
Ronaldo spent months trying to negotiate his Real Madrid contract but to no avail. Instead, he signed with the Italian club Juventus on 10 July 2018. This was a four-year contract with a huge transfer fee of 100 million Euros. The transfer fee also included an additional 12 million Euros and other fees and contributions to Ronaldo’s youth club.
Ronaldo debuted in the group on August 18, in a match against ChievoVerona and the team won the match 3-2. His first goal with the team was in his fourth appearance with the team. This match was against Sassuolo in Serie A, and his fourth appearance. In the match, he scored twice, and Juventus won the match 201.
On 22 August 2021, Ronaldo began the new season as a substitute and came out for Alvaro Morata in a match against Udinese. He scored a goal but the goal was ruled out by VAR, and the match was a draw at 2-2.
A few days later, on 26 August, Ronaldo and Jorge Mendes, his agent made a verbal agreement with Manchester City, but City pulled out of the deal the next day because the cost of the transfer would be too high. On the same day, City’s rival club, Manchester United agreed on signing Ronaldo. However, Alex Ferguson, his former manager, and ex-teammates had to contact him and persuade him to resign from United.
It was announced on 27 August 2021, that Manchester United had reached an agreement with Juventus and had resigned Ronaldo. The transfer fee was reported to be 12.85 million pounds, and the contract was for two years. Ronaldo also had the option to extend it for a year.
In Manchester United, Ronaldo was given back his number 7 shirt, as Edinson Cavani agreed to switch to 21. Ronaldo re-debuted with Manchester United against Newcastle United, where he scored the opening two goals.
His return back to his former team was quite successful as Ronaldo has been in great form and is believed to golf the record for most goals scored in professional football. He was also named the Premier League Player of the Month in April, and the Premier League Team of the Year.
However, it was also disappointing for Ronaldo since, United finished in sixth place and for the first time since 2010, Ronaldo had no trophies to celebrate.
Cristiano Ronaldo has had an impressive football career, and in a way, football has been his life ever since he was young. He started playing at a very young age, and despite his difficult childhood, he managed to turn his passion into a job.
On the field, he is an extraordinary player and a delight to watch. He has also won many awards and trophies that are a testament to his talent and abilities.