What a ride! Cristiano Ronaldo is probably the most famous, and the richest, a footballer in the world right now. His boyish good looks, blistering pace, and mesmerizing dribbling skills have made him a global icon. CR7 has won practically everything there is to win in club football – with the team as well as individually – but his best years are surely still ahead of him.
Cristiano Ronaldo’s career as a professional footballer has been an interesting one so far. While he was first known for his speed and agility on the pitch, he’s more recently gained recognition for his handsome face and dance moves off it.
Whether you love him or hate him, there’s no denying that this man has accomplished so much in just over two decades of playing professional football. From his early days at Sporting CP to signing with FC Barcelona and finally ending up at Juventus, here is everything you need to know about Cristiano Ronaldo:
Ronaldo Early Life and Career Beginnings
Cristiano Ronaldo was born on February 5th, 1985, in a small town in Funchal, Portugal. It was here that he began his football career, excelling as a youth player for Andorinha and Andorinha. His breakthrough came in 2002 when he signed with Sporting CP, the most popular club in Portugal. Although Sporting CP is not as famous or well-known as the Spanish giants, they have a long and rich history. The club was the first-ever winner of the European Cup (now known as the UEFA Champions League) in 1956-57, and they have also won 10 Primeira Liga titles and two European Super Cups. Sporting is one of the “Big Three” clubs in Portugal, along with Benfica and Porto.
Champions League Domination
In the mid-2000s, Cristiano Ronaldo was at the peak of his game. He was a rising star at Sporting CP and was called up to the Portuguese national team for the 2006 FIFA World Cup. After the tournament, Ronaldo was purchased by Manchester United for £12 million in June of the same year, making him the most expensive teenager in football history at the time. His impact at Old Trafford was immediate and decisive, as he scored 16 goals in his first season and helped United win the Premier League title. He continued to score regularly, with an average of 26 goals a season, until his departure from the club in June 2009. Cristiano Ronaldo’s first taste of Champions League football came in the 2005-06 season when Barcelona knocked out Manchester United in the Round of 16. The following year, United has knocked out again at the same stage, this time by AC Milan. In 2007-08, Cristiano Ronaldo and Manchester United reached the Final, only to lose 2-0 to Chelsea.
Real Madrid Days
The following season saw Manchester United eliminated in the Round of 16 points table, this time by Barcelona. The Catalonians were now the reigning champions, having won the title by beating Arsenal 2-1 in the Final. In the summer of 2009, Cristiano Ronaldo, himself a former champion, was signed by Spanish giants Real Madrid for £80 million, becoming the most expensive footballer in history at the time. In Europe, Ronaldo and his team reached the Final in the 2010-11 and 2011-12 editions of the Champions League, losing both times to fellow Spanish side Barcelona.
The Bernabeu Exit
The following season saw Real Madrid eliminated in the Round of 16, this time by Ajax. The world was stunned in June 2017 when it was announced that Cristiano Ronaldo would be leaving Real Madrid after nine seasons and three European titles with the club. He joined Italian giants Juventus just a few days later, becoming the most expensive footballer in history once again by signing a four-year contract worth €100 million.
The Old Lady Welcome Party
During the first two seasons of his Juventus career, Cristiano Ronaldo reached the Quarter-Finals, only to be knocked out by his former club Real Madrid. In the 2018-19 season, Juve was knocked out in the Round of 16, this time by Ajax. Ajax is one of the emerging forces in European football and has an exciting young team that has been dominating the domestic league in recent years. Their run to the Semi-Finals of the Champions League this season was sensational, and a lot of credit has to be given to Portuguese manager Andre Villas-Boas, who has been able to bring the best out of the team this season. Cristiano Ronaldo and his team have been the biggest beneficiaries of this run, as they were drawn against each other in the Quarter-Finals.
Cristiano Ronaldo has won five Ballon d’Or awards, the most for a football player in history (not including the FIFA Men’s World Player of the Year award, which was awarded from 1991 to 2017), and is currently the most decorated footballer in history. In terms of awards and honors, Ronaldo has won 26 trophies, as well as the FIFA World Cup, and Golden Boot, in the 2010 FIFA World Cup. He has scored 681 goals in 742 games in his career and is currently the third-highest goal scorer in UEFA Champions League history. With such a decorated and amazing career behind him, what lies ahead for the Portuguese superstar? Well, the best is yet to come from Cristiano Ronaldo, and a wide collection of awards and honors are yet to be added. It’s been a fantastic journey so far, and it definitely will not be an easy ending for the Portuguese goalscorer.
Cristiano Ronaldo has had an amazing footballing career so far. He has won almost everything in club football and has been among the top goalscorers in the world for over a decade. However, the 33-year-old still has a lot to offer, and he could even break the goal-scoring record this year. As far as his legacy is concerned, Ronaldo is easily one of the best players of all time.