A much-vaunted prodigy when snapped up by Man. United from Sporting Lisbon in 2003, Cristiano Ronaldo is maybe, apart from David Beckham, the most well known player on the planet.
He has since won the FIFA World Player of the Year in 2008. He is a winger who plundered 42 goals across all competitions in 2007-08, Ronaldo will be expected to do what he has yet to do – and that’s ignite an international tournament, like the looming Soccer worldcup.
Ronaldo was born on 5th February 1985, on the Portuguese island of Madeira,. Named after Ronald Reagan, due to his father`s respect for the man, few would have put money that this child would make it to the very top of the world soccer ranking, especially with Madeira being mainly being agricultural. He has one brother and two sisters, it is family whom he chooses as the most important in his life.
On the back streets of this small island that Ronaldo learnt his first few tricks, until he was scouted that is. By the age of 12, Ronaldo had established himself as the top player on Madeira, utilizing his great talent and speed to pass full grown defenders for Andorinha.Having been scouted as a serious talent, the big Portuguese clubs had to scrap it out for his signature. Though Porto and Boavista both attempted to sign him, he could only ever play for Sporting Lisbon the soccer club he supported since a boy.
Progressing through the youth ranks he impressed all who he worked with him. At the young age of 17, Ronaldo was thrown in at the deep end with his first game against Moreirense. He scored twice which not only gave him a dream debut, but also endeared him to the fans who soon learnt to chant for him to have the ball. A goal against title-rivals Boavista also saw him shoot to the top of the “Fan`s Favorites” list.
His skills were being watched closely by all of the top clubs in Europe, including Liverpool and Juventus.
His dazzling skills put England U-17s out, and everyone who watched felt they had seen something special.
At the end of his first season at Sporting Lisbon he was loaned to Liverpool. Though he was extremely happy at Sporting, he was also flattered by the interest of such a big club from England’s premier league
A STAR IS BORN.
Sporting Lisbon finished top in the league, and Ronaldo was hailed as the future of the club, alongside another Portuguese Starlet Quaresma.
Ultimately both moved on. The money on the table was way too much for the Portuguese club to turn down. Best-friend Quaresma ended up at Barcelona, whilst Ronaldo landed at the bright red of Man. United.
The deal saw Ronaldo become the most expensive teenage signing in the UK, with Manchester paying £12.24 million spread equally over two seasons. Those who had not seen him play baulked at the price for an unproven player!
An so, on 12th August 2003, Cristiano Ronaldo held up the famous Red shirt, with his favourite number 7 (it is hero Figo`s number) for all the media to see. A new star had been born.
After winning all there was to win with man. United, in the summer of 2009 Ronaldo finally earned his dream move to Real Madrid. Yet another world record fee of £80 million was paid for him as part of the new era of galacticos at the Bernabeu.
The tricky winger made his debut for his country in a 1-0 victory against Kazakhstan in 2003 and was named in the squad for Euro 2004 in Portugal.He had the chance to come of age at the Germany hosted 2006 World Cup, though one of the memorable images of the tournament was his wink at the bench after Manchester United team-mate Wayne Rooney was sent off in a match against England. He also came in for fierce criticism for diving, which resulted in him being booed at games and it probably cost him the Young Player of the Tournament award.
He only scored one goal at Euro 2008, but after former Manchester United assistant coach took over with Portugal, Ronaldo has been named captain, though some would argue he is not their most influential player.
With South Africa 2010 on the horizon, Ronaldo has the talent,ability and now the experience to make an impact for Portugal provided he can shake off his devils of the past.
On the commercial front Cristiano Ronaldo is not too different from the likes of other soccer celebrities. He earns a fortune from plenty of endorsed Cristiano Ronaldo cleats, Cristiano Ronaldo t shirts, Shin guards and various other equipment and memorabilia, as is common place in today’s modern soccer game.