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Cristiano Ronaldo

Cristiano Ronaldo
Cristiano Ajax.jpg
Ronaldo playing for Real Madrid
Personal information
Full name Cristiano Ronaldo dos Santos Aveiro
Date of birth (1985-02-05) 5 February 1985 (age 27)
Place of birth Funchal, Madeira, Portugal
Height 1.86 m (6 ft 1 in)[1]
Playing position Forward
Club information
Current club Real Madrid
Number 7
Youth career
1993–1995 Andorinha
1995–1997 Nacional
1997–2002 Sporting CP
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
2002–2003 Sporting CP 25 (3)
2003–2009 Manchester United 196 (84)
2009– Real Madrid 101 (112)
National team
2001–2002 Portugal U17 9 (6)
2002–2003 Portugal U20 5 (3)
2003 Portugal U21 6 (1)
2004 Portugal U23 3 (1)
2003– Portugal 95 (35)
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only and correct as of 19:00, 13 May 2012 (UTC).

† Appearances (Goals).

‡ National team caps and goals correct as of 18:43, 27 June 2012 (UTC)

Cristiano Ronaldo dos Santos Aveiro,[2] OIH, (born 5 February 1985),[3] commonly known as Cristiano Ronaldo, is a Portuguese footballer who plays as a winger or striker for Spanish La Liga club Real Madrid and is the captain of the Portuguese national team. Ronaldo became the most expensive footballer in history after moving from Manchester United to Real Madrid in a transfer worth £80 million (€93.9 million/$131.6 million). In addition, his contract with Real Madrid, in which he is paid €12 million per year, makes him one of the highest-paid footballers in the world,[4] and his buyout clause is valued at €1 billion as per his contract.[5] In 2012, Diego Maradona declared that Ronaldo was "the best player on the planet."[6]

Ronaldo began his career as a youth player for Andorinha, where he played for two years, before moving to C.D. Nacional. In 1997, he made a move to Portuguese giants Sporting Clube de Portugal. Ronaldo caught the attention of Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson, who signed him for £12.24 million (€15 million) in 2003. The following season, Ronaldo won his first club honour, the FA Cup. He also played at Euro 2004 with Portugal and scored his first international goal in the opening game of the tournament against Greece, in addition to helping Portugal reach the final. He was featured in the UEFA Euro All-Star Team of this competition.

Ronaldo was the first player to win all four main PFA and FWA awards, doing so in 2007. In 2008, Ronaldo won the Ballon d'Or.[7] He placed second in the Ballon d'Or in 2007, 2009, and 2011. He was awarded the European Golden Shoe in both 2008 and 2011. In 2008, he won three of the four main PFA and FWA trophies and was named the FIFPro Player of the Year, World Soccer Player of the Year, Onze d'Or, and the FIFA World Player of the Year.[8][9][10] In 2007 and 2008, Ronaldo was named FWA Footballer of the Year. Ronaldo was the inaugural winner of the FIFA Puskás Award in 2009.

Ronaldo holds numerous scoring records, including the records for most goals scored in a season for Real Madrid, most goals scored in a season in La Liga, most goals scored per minute in La Liga, first top European league player to reach 40 goals in a single season in two consecutive years, and the first player ever to score against every team in a single season in La Liga.[11]


Early life

Ronaldo was born in Santo António, a neighbourhood of Funchal, Madeira, the youngest child of Maria Dolores dos Santos Aveiro, a cook, and José Dinis Aveiro, a municipal gardener.[12] His second given name "Ronaldo" was chosen after then-U.S. president Ronald Reagan, who was his father's favourite actor. He has one older brother, Hugo, and two older sisters, Elma and Liliana Cátia.[3] His great-grandmother Isabel da Piedade was from Cape Verde.[13]

Club career

Early career

At the age of eight, Ronaldo played for amateur team Andorinha, where his father was the kit man. In 1995, Ronaldo signed with local club Nacional, and, after a title-winning campaign, he went on a three-day trial with Sporting CP, who subsequently signed him for an undisclosed sum.[14]

Sporting Clube de Portugal

Ronaldo joined Sporting's other youth players who trained at the Academia Sporting, the club's football academy, in Alcochete. He became the only player ever to play for Sporting's under-16, under-17, under-18, B-team, and the first team, all within one season.[15] He scored two goals in his league debut on 7 October 2002, which Sporting CP won 3–0 against Moreirense, while featuring for Portugal in the 2002 European Under-17 Championship.[16]

At the age of 15 Ronaldo was diagnosed with a racing heart, a condition that might have forced him to give up playing football. The Sporting staff were made aware of the condition and Ronaldo's mother gave her authorisation for him to go into hospital. While there, he had an operation in which a laser was used to cauterise the area of his heart that was causing the problem. The surgery took place in the morning and Ronaldo was discharged from hospital by the end of the afternoon; he resumed training only a few days later.[17]

In November 2002, Ronaldo was invited to Arsenal's training ground, London Colney to meet manager Arsène Wenger and his coaching staff.[18] Wenger, who was interested in signing the midfielder had arranged to meet Ronaldo's representatives, Formation (who suggested the player originally to Gérard Houllier, then Liverpool's manager) in the subsequent months to discuss a transfer arrangement.[19] However he came to the attention of Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson in the summer of 2003, when Sporting defeated United 3–1 in the inauguration of the Estádio José Alvalade in Lisbon. Ronaldo's performance impressed the Manchester United players, who urged Ferguson to sign him.[20]

Manchester United


  Ronaldo playing against Chelsea in April 2006.

Ronaldo became Manchester United's first-ever Portuguese player when he signed for €15 million[21] (£12.24 million) after the 2002–03 season.[22] He requested the number 28 (his number at Sporting), as he did not want the pressure of living up to the expectation linked to the number 7 shirt, which had previously been worn by players such as George Best, Bryan Robson, Eric Cantona, and David Beckham. "After I joined, the manager asked me what number I'd like. I said 28. But Ferguson said 'No, you're going to have No. 7,' and the famous shirt was an extra source of motivation. I was forced to live up to such an honour."[23]

Ronaldo made his team debut as a 60th-minute substitute in a 4–0 home victory over Bolton Wanderers. He scored his first goal for Manchester United with a free kick in a 3–0 win over Portsmouth on 1 November 2003. Ronaldo ended his first season in English football by scoring the opening goal in United's 3–0 FA Cup final victory over Millwall.[24]

He scored United's 1000th Premier League goal on 29 October 2005 in a 4–1 loss to Middlesbrough.[25] He scored ten goals in all competitions, and fans voted him to his first FIFPro Special Young Player of the Year award in 2005.

He was sent off in the Manchester derby at the City of Manchester Stadium on 14 January 2006 (a game which United lost 3–1) for kicking City's former United player Andrew Cole.[26]

Ronaldo won his second trophy in English football in the 2005–06 season, scoring the third goal in Manchester United's 4–0 Football League Cup final victory over Wigan Athletic.[27]


  Ronaldo with United during their 2006–2007 season.

The 2006–2007 season proved to be the breakout year for Ronaldo, as he broke the 20 goal barrier for the first time and picked up his first league title with Manchester United.

In November and December 2006, Ronaldo received consecutive Barclays Player of the Month honours, becoming only the third player in Premier League history to do so after Dennis Bergkamp in 1997 and Robbie Fowler in 1996.[28][29] He scored his 50th Manchester United goal against city rivals Manchester City on 5 May 2007 as United claimed their first Premier League title in four years, and he was voted into his second consecutive FIFPro Special Young Player of the Year award at the end of the year.

Despite rumours circulating in March 2007 that Real Madrid were willing to pay an unprecedented €80 million (£54 million) for Ronaldo,[30] he signed a five-year, £120,000-a-week (£31 million total) extension with United on 13 April, making him the highest-paid player in team history.[31][32]

Ronaldo amassed a host of personal awards for the season. He won the PFA Players' Player of the Year and PFA Young Player of the Year awards, joining Andy Gray (in 1977) as the only players to receive this honour.[33] In April, he completed the treble by winning the PFA Fans' Player of the Year. He also won the PFA Fans' Player of the Year and the FWA Footballer of the Year, becoming the first player to win all four main PFA and FWA awards. Ronaldo was also one of eight Manchester United players named in the 2006–07 PFA Premier League Team of the Year.

  Ronaldo (left) and Carlos Tévez prior to a Champions League match.

Ronaldo's 2007–08 season began with a red card for a headbutt on Portsmouth player Richard Hughes during United's second match of the season, for which he was punished with a three-match ban.[34] Ronaldo said he had "learned a lot" from the experience and would not let players "provoke" him in the future.[35] After scoring the only goal in a Champions League away match against Sporting, Ronaldo also scored the injury-time winner in the return fixture as Manchester United topped their Champions League group.[36]

He finished as the runner-up to Kaká for the 2007 Ballon d'Or,[37] and was third in the running for the FIFA World Player of the Year award, behind Kaká and Lionel Messi.[38]

Ronaldo scored his first hat trick for Manchester United in a 6–0 win against Newcastle United at Old Trafford on 12 January 2008, bringing Manchester United up to the top of the Premier League table.[39] He scored his twenty-third league goal of the season in a 2–0 win against Reading, equalling his entire total for the 2006–07 season.[40] During a 1–1 Champions League first knockout round draw against Lyon on 20 February, an unidentified Lyon supporter continuously aimed a green laser at Ronaldo and United teammate Nani, prompting an investigation by UEFA.[41] One month later, Lyon were fined CHF5,000 (£2,427) for the incident.[42]

On 19 March 2008, Ronaldo captained United for the first time in his career in a home win over Bolton, scoring both goals in the 2–0 victory.[43] The second of the goals was his 33rd of the campaign, which set a new club single-season scoring record by a midfielder and thus topped George Best's forty-year-old total of 32 goals in the 1967–68 season.[44] Ronaldo scored another brace in a 4–0 win over Aston Villa on 29 March, which at the time gave him 35 goals in 37 domestic and European matches as both a starter and substitute. Ronaldo's scoring streak was rewarded with his becoming the first winger to win the 2007–08 European Golden Shoe, finishing eight points ahead of Mallorca's Dani Güiza.[45]

"Ronaldo is better than George Best and Denis Law, who were two brilliant and great players in the history of United."

Johan Cruyff in an interview on April 2008.[46]

In the 2007–08 Champions League final on 21 May against league rivals Chelsea, Ronaldo scored the opening goal after 26 minutes, which was negated by a Chelsea equaliser in the 45th minute as the match ended 1–1 after extra time. His misfire in the penalty shoot-out put Chelsea in position to win the trophy, but John Terry shot wide right after slipping on the pitch surface, and Manchester United emerged victorious 6–5 on penalties. Ronaldo was named the UEFA Fans' Man of the Match,[47] and wrapped up the campaign with a career-high 42 goals in all competitions, falling four short of Denis Law's team-record mark of 46 in the 1963–64 season. In the Champions League he was also named best forward and player of the tournament and was the competition's top goalscorer.

  Ronaldo and Manchester United against Albert Riera and rivals Liverpool.

On 5 June 2008, Sky Sports reported that Ronaldo had expressed an interest in moving to Real Madrid if they offered him the same amount of money the team had allegedly promised him earlier in the year.[48] Manchester United filed a tampering complaint with FIFA on 9 June over Madrid's alleged pursuit of Ronaldo, but FIFA declined to take any action.[49][50] Speculation that a transfer would happen continued until 6 August, when Ronaldo confirmed that he would stay at United for at least another year.[51]

Ronaldo underwent ankle surgery at the Academic Medical Center in Amsterdam on 7 July.[52] He returned to action on 17 September in United's goalless UEFA Champions League group stage draw with Villarreal as a substitute for Park Ji-Sung,[53] and scored his first goal of the season in a 3–1 League Cup third round win over Middlesbrough on 24 September.

In a 5–0 win over Stoke City on 15 November 2008, Ronaldo scored his 100th and 101st goals in all competitions for Manchester United, both from free kicks.[54] The goals also meant that Ronaldo had now scored against each of the other 19 teams in the Premier League at the time.[55] On 2 December, Ronaldo became Manchester United's first Ballon d'Or recipient since George Best in 1968. He finished with 446 points, 165 ahead of runner-up Lionel Messi.[56] He was awarded the Silver Ball after finishing with two goals as United won the Club World Cup on 19 December.[57]

On 8 January 2009, Ronaldo was uninjured in a single-car accident in which he wrote off his Ferrari 599 GTB Fiorano in a tunnel along the A538 near Manchester Airport. A breathalyser test he gave to police officers at the scene was negative, and he attended training later that morning.[58] Four days later, he became the first Premier League player ever to be named the FIFA World Player of the Year, in addition to being the first Portuguese player to win the award since Luís Figo in 2001.[59]

Ronaldo scored his first Champions League goal of the season, and first since the final against Chelsea, in a 2–0 victory over Internazionale that sent United into the quarter-finals.[60] In the second leg against Porto, Ronaldo scored a 40-yard game-winning goal as United advanced to the semi-finals. For this goal Ronaldo holds the distinction of being the first player to win the FIFA Puskás Award, in 2009, an honour handed by FIFA to the best goal of the year.[61] He later called it the best goal he had ever scored.[62][63] Ronaldo participated in his second consecutive Champions League final, but made little impact in United's 2–0 loss to Barcelona. He finished with 53 appearances in all competitions, which was four higher than the previous year, but scored sixteen fewer goals (26) than his career-best total of 42 from the previous season.

On 11 June, Manchester United accepted an unconditional offer of £80 million from Real Madrid for Ronaldo after it was revealed that he again had expressed his desire to leave the club.[64] It was confirmed by a representative of the Glazer family that the sale was fully condoned by Ferguson.[65] When Ronaldo had eventually completed his transfer to Real, he expressed his gratitude towards Ferguson for helping him develop as a player, saying, "He's been my father in sport, one of the most important factors and most influential in my career."[66]

Real Madrid

2009–10 season

  Ronaldo and Real Madrid against Diego Forlán and city rivals Atlético Madrid.

"I have nothing but praise for the boy. He is easily the best player in the world. He is better than Kaká and better than Messi. He is streets ahead of them all. His contribution as a goal threat is unbelievable. His stats are incredible. Strikes at goal, attempts on goal, raids into the penalty box, headers. It is all there. Absolutely astounding."

Alex Ferguson, Ronaldo's manager at Manchester United in July 2009.[67]

On 26 June 2009, Real Madrid confirmed that Ronaldo would join the club on 1 July 2009 from Manchester United for £80 million (€93.9 million/$131.6 million) becoming the most expensive footballer in history,[68] after agreeing terms and signing a six-year contract.[69] Ronaldo's contract is worth €11 million per year[4] and it has a €1 billion buy-out clause.[70] He was presented to the world media as a Real Madrid player on 6 July,[71] where he was handed the number 9 jersey.[72] The shirt was presented to him by Madrid legend Alfredo Di Stéfano.[73] Ronaldo was welcomed by 80,000 fans at his presentation at the Santiago Bernabéu Stadium, surpassing Diego Maradona's record of 75,000 fans when he was presented in Italy, after he was transferred from Barcelona to Napoli in 1984.[74]

Ronaldo made his Madrid debut on 21 July in a 1–0 win over Shamrock Rovers. His first goal came one week later with a penalty in Madrid's 4–2 win over LDU Quito.[75] On 29 August, Ronaldo capped his La Liga debut with a goal, scoring Real's second from the penalty spot in a 3–2 home win against Deportivo La Coruña.[76] On 15 September, Ronaldo scored two free-kicks in a 5–2 away victory over Zürich, his first Champions League goals for Real.[77] He broke a Madrid club record when he scored in a league match against Villarreal and thus became the first ever player to score in his first four La Liga appearances.[78]

An ankle injury suffered on 10 October, while Ronaldo was on international duty with Portugal against Hungary,[79] kept him out until 25 November, which in turn caused him to miss both of Madrid's Champions League group stage matches against Milan. Ronaldo made his first post-injury start in a 1–0 El Clásico defeat to Barcelona on 29 November. On 6 December, he was sent off for the first time in his Madrid career in Madrid's 4–2 victory against Almería, a match which also saw him miss a penalty. He was carded first for removing his shirt during a goal celebration, then for kicking out at an opponent three minutes later.[80] He was second in the 2009 FIFA World Player of the Year award and also second in the 2009 Ballon d'Or award. On 5 May 2010 Ronaldo scored his first Real Madrid hat-trick in an away game against Mallorca. Ronaldo and Gonzalo Higuaín scored 53 league goals during the course of the season and became Real's highest scoring league duo in their history.[81]

2010–11 season

  Ronaldo during a friendly game against Peñarol before the beginning of the season.

With the departure of Raúl during the summer of 2010, Ronaldo was handed the No. 7 jersey for Real Madrid.[82] On 23 October 2010, Ronaldo scored four goals against Racing de Santander,[83] the most goals he has ever scored in a single match.[84] This completed a goalscoring run of six consecutive matches (three in La Liga, one in the Champions League, and two for Portugal) in which Ronaldo scored in each match, totalling 11 goals, which is the most Ronaldo has scored in a single month. Before Real Madrid's 5–0 defeat by Barcelona at the Camp Nou, Ronaldo scored his second La Liga hat-trick of the season in a 5–1 win over Athletic Bilbao.[85] His final match of the calendar year saw him score a hat-trick in a 8–0 trashing of Levante in the Copa del Rey.[86]

Ronaldo began the 2011 with a very promising outlook, especially after Real Madrid acknowledged he had broken numerous goalscoring records, previously settled and held by classic players such as Alfredo Di Stéfano, Hugo Sánchez, and Manuel Alday.[87][88] Ronaldo began his scoring spree by scoring two vital goals in a tight 3–2 victory away to Getafe.[89] He then consolidated his massive performances by scoring a hat-trick and assisting Kaká to score his first league goal after his return from injury, in a 4–2 victory over Villarreal on 9 January. One game away from the middle of the season, Ronaldo had a very clear chance of breaking Telmo Zarra's and Hugo Sánchez's record of 38 League goals in a single season, since he was the league's top scorer with 22 goals, above Lionel Messi.[90][91] However, shortly after, Ronaldo experienced the biggest goal drought in his entire career, scoring only 2 goals in more than a month. During this period, Real Madrid acknowledged to have hit the crossbar more than 12 times in the season, most of the shots belonging to Ronaldo and almost all having happened during crucial moments in drawn matches.[92] Ronaldo then made a massive comeback by scoring a hat-trick in a 7–0 trashing of Málaga on 3 March 2011, but was affected by a muscle injury at the end of the match, which forced him to spend 10 days on the sidelines.

  Ronaldo and Real Madrid against Gareth Bale and Tottenham in the UEFA Champions League.

In April he made another massive comeback from injury, sustaining a three-game scoring streak (including 2 goals in Champions League quarter-finals against Tottenham Hotspur), thus arriving to the first of a historical series of four El Clásico encounters two goals short of breaking his personal record of 42 goals in all competitions in a single season, achieved at Manchester United in the 2007–08 season.

During the second league edition of El Clásico, Ronaldo scored from the penalty spot and took his tally to 41 goals, also taking his scoring streak to four games. On 20 April, Ronaldo scored the winning goal against Barcelona in the 103rd minute of the Copa del Rey final.[93] This goal would later be chosen as both Ronaldo's and Real Madrid's best goal in the season by several fan polls, including those of Marca[94] and Real Madrid's website.[95] 7 May saw Real travel to the Ramón Sánchez Pizjuán to take on Sevilla, where Ronaldo led the thrashing of a woeful Andalusian side, scoring four goals in a 6–2 victory. These four goals took him to 46 for the season which surpassed his previous record of 42 in a season playing for Manchester United.[96] Three days later he reached 49 goals for the season, by scoring another hat-trick in a 4–0 home win against Getafe. On 15 May, after scoring two free-kick goals in a 3–1 win over Villarreal, he equalled the La Liga record with most goals in a season with 38, a record previously held by Telmo Zarra and Hugo Sánchez.

On 21 May, he scored two goals in the last league match of the season against Almería, taking his Pichichi total to 41, and La Liga total to 40, becoming the first and only player to score 40 goals in a La Liga season. By doing this, he won the European Golden Shoe award once again, becoming the first player to win the trophy in two different leagues. The sports newspaper Marca, who awards the Pichichi Trophy, included the goal scored on 18 September 2010 against Real Sociedad in Ronaldo's goal count, which had been officially attributed to Pepe.[97] Should this goal be granted to Ronaldo, his goal count in the Pichichi Trophy would tally 41 goals. Ronaldo also broke Zarra's record of most goals per minute, with a goal scored every 70.7 minutes. However, regardless of this goal polemic, Ronaldo's record-breaking figures became a source of major attention from public media, such as being included in the Sports Illustrated World XI,[98] rating him as one of the world's best footballers. Accounting for all competitions, Ronaldo ended the season with a total of 53 goals (not granting him the controversial goal from Pepe), having scored 25 goals with his right foot (excluding free-kicks and penalty-kicks) and 9 with his left foot.[99]

2011–12 season

"Cristiano Ronaldo is fantastic. I will not compare him with [Lionel] Messi, we're talking about two great players. I will say this year Cristiano Ronaldo has been better."

José Mourinho, Ronaldo's manager at Real Madrid in May 2012.[100]

Real Madrid's pre-season began with a 4–1 victory over MLS team Los Angeles Galaxy,[101] with goals from Callejón, Joselu, Ronaldo, and Benzema.[102] Four days later Ronaldo scored a second half hat-trick in a 3–0 win against Guadalajara. Ronaldo's preseason performance was highly praised as world media kept hailing Ronaldo's extreme competitiveness and motivation, even during friendly matches. On 17 August 2011, Ronaldo scored his 100th goal with Real Madrid with a first-half equaliser against Barcelona in the second leg of the 2011 Spanish Supercup in the Camp Nou. On 27 August 2011, he opened the 2011–12 La Liga season with a hat-trick in a 6–0 win at Real Zaragoza.

In the first weeks of September, Ronaldo's physical performance was subject to scrutiny by world media, after Castrol released a television film named Ronaldo: Tested to the Limit where he was put to test in several fields, including mental and physical. Conclusions from the movie and doctors in the weeks following claimed that Ronaldo was one of the best athletes in the world, excelling in football and outstanding in almost every other category.[citation needed] Several sources[weasel words] drew comparisons between him and other top athletes, including sprinter Usain Bolt.[citation needed] On 24 September, Ronaldo scored a hat-trick (including two penalties) in Real Madrid's 6–2 win over Rayo Vallecano at the Santiago Bernabéu. This was his ninth La Liga hat-trick and tenth hat-trick for Real Madrid.

On 27 September, Ronaldo scored Real's opening goal in a 3–0 defeat of Ajax in the Champions League. On 22 October, after not scoring in his previous three games, Ronaldo scored his tenth La Liga hat-trick and eleventh in total for Real Madrid in a match away to Málaga, which Real Madrid won 4–0. His twelfth Real Madrid hat-trick followed on 6 November, in a 7–1 victory over Osasuna that ensured Madrid stayed top of the table heading into the international break.[103] On 19 November 2011, Ronaldo scored Real's second goal in a 2–3 defeat of Valencia. On 26 November 2011, Ronaldo scored two penalties in a 4–1 defeat of Atlético Madrid in the El Derbi madrileño. On 3 December 2011, Ronaldo scored Madrid's second goal in a 0–3 defeat of Sporting de Gijón in La Liga. He was one of the three finalists for the 2011 FIFA Ballon d'Or. On 13 December 2011, Ronaldo scored the second goal against SD Ponferradina in the first leg of the Copa del Rey Round 4, the match ended in a 0–2 win. On 17 December 2011, Ronaldo scored his twelfth La Liga hat-trick and thirteenth overall in a 6–2 win away to Sevilla.

Ronaldo was third in the 2010–11 UEFA Best Player in Europe Award, behind Lionel Messi and Xavi, and second in the 2011 FIFA Ballon d'Or, behind Lionel Messi and ahead of Xavi. In Real Madrid's next game in La Liga at home to Granada Ronaldo scored the fifth goal in a 5–1 win. He was notably criticised in the public media[who?] for not celebrating the goal. On 22 January 2012, Ronaldo scored two penalties in a 4–1 win over Athletic Bilbao, and on 28 January scored Real Madrid's second and winning goal in a 3–1 win against Zaragoza. Ronaldo also scored two goals against Barcelona in the Copa del Rey Quarter-finals, which Real lost 4–3 on aggregrate. On 12 February 2012, Ronaldo scored a hat-trick, his thirteenth in La Liga and fourteenth for Real Madrid, in a 4–2 home win over Levante. This win stretched Real Madrid's lead over second-placed Barcelona to 10 points.

On 24 March 2012, Ronaldo reached more than 100 goals in La Liga in just three season at Real Madrid when he scored the first of his two goals in the match against Real Sociedad, the second quickest La Liga player to reach that milestone in the league after Isidro Lángara, reaching the milestone in 92 matches and breaking the previous club record held by Puskás.[104] As of 24 March 2012, Ronaldo had averaged 1.01 goals per game in La Liga.

"If it were totally up to me, I would end my career at Real Madrid, honestly. I would sign a ten year extension right now. I want to stay, but that decision is really up to other people."

"To be honest, I do not know. In the future, nobody knows. I feel very happy here, it is a great club with fantastic fans. It is great, but in the future nobody knows."

Ronaldo, on his future.[105][106]

On 11 April, Ronaldo scored a hat-trick against Atletico Madrid in a 1–4 win, as well as assisting the last goal. His hat-trick, one goal from a free kick, one from 30 yards on the left wing and one penalty, gave him 40 league goals in the season, making him the only player in La Liga history , or in any other major European league, to score 40 goals in two seasons, even doing so in consecutive seasons. Ronaldo officially broke his previous record of 40 goals in a La Liga season on 14 April, scoring in a 3–1 win against Sporting Gijón.

On 13 May 2012, the last matchday, Ronaldo scored against Mallorca which made him the first player ever to score against every team in a single season in La Liga.[11] He finished the season with a total of 46 league goals.

He finished the season with 60 goals in every competition, breaking the Real Madrid record he had set the previous season. In May, Ronaldo claimed that he believed that he had played better than Lionel Messi this season,[107][108][109] and that Real Madrid have the quality to win six trophies in the 2012–13 season.[110] On 13 June, Ronaldo won the Trofeo Alfredo Di Stefano as the best player of the season in La Liga.

International career

  Ronaldo playing against Brazil

Ronaldo earned his first cap for Portugal in a 1–0 victory against Kazakhstan on 20 August 2003.[111]

Euro 2004

Ronaldo was called up for Euro 2004,[112] scoring his first international goal in a 2–1 group stage loss to eventual champions Greece[113] and scoring again in a 2–1 semi-final win over the Netherlands.[114] He was featured in the UEFA Euro All-Star Team of this competition, despite finishing with only two goals.[115] He also represented Portugal at the 2004 Summer Olympics.[116][117]

2006 World Cup

Ronaldo was the second-highest scorer in FIFA World Cup qualification in the European zone with seven goals,[115] and scored his first World Cup goal against Iran with a penalty kick.[118]

During a quarter-final match against England on 1 July 2006, Ronaldo's United teammate Wayne Rooney was sent off for stamping on Portugal defender Ricardo Carvalho. The English media speculated that Ronaldo had influenced referee Horacio Elizondo's decision by aggressively complaining, after which he was seen in replays winking at the Portuguese bench following Rooney's dismissal. After the match, Ronaldo insisted that Rooney was a friend and that he was not pushing for Rooney to be sent off.[119] On 4 July, Elizondo clarified that the red card was due to Rooney's infraction and not the fracas between Rooney and Ronaldo that followed.[120]

The angry reaction from the English press caused Ronaldo to consider leaving United,[121] and he allegedly told Spanish sports daily Marca that he wished to move to Real Madrid.[122] In response to the speculation, Ferguson sent Portuguese assistant manager Carlos Queiroz to speak to Ronaldo in attempt to change his mind, a sentiment that was shared by Rooney.[123][124] Ronaldo stayed, and signed his new five-year extension in April 2007.[125]

Ronaldo was booed during Portugal's semi-final defeat to France,[126] and missed out on the competition's Best Young Player award due to a negative e-mail campaign from England fans.[127] Though the online vote only affected the nomination process, FIFA's Technical Study Group awarded the honour to Germany's Lukas Podolski, citing Ronaldo's behaviour as a factor in the decision.[128]

Post-World Cup

One day after his 22nd birthday, Ronaldo captained Portugal for the first time in a friendly against Brazil on 6 February 2007.[129] This move was in honour of Portuguese Football Federation president Carlos Silva, who had died two days earlier. Portugal coach Luiz Felipe Scolari explained, "Mr. Silva asked me to make [Ronaldo] captain as a gesture... [he] is too young to be captain, but Mr. Silva asked me, and now he is no longer with us."[130]

Euro 2008

Ronaldo scored eight goals in Portugal's UEFA Euro 2008 qualifying campaign,[131] behind Poland's Ebi Smolarek, but finished with only one goal in the tournament as Portugal were eliminated in the quarter-finals by Germany.[132] When Carlos Queiroz was named Portugal's new coach in July 2008,[133] he appointed Ronaldo as team captain.[134]

Ronaldo was named Man of the Match against the Czech Republic in Group A of the European championships.[135]

2010 World Cup

On 15 June 2010, in Portugal's opening World Cup match against Côte d'Ivoire, Ronaldo was tackled by right-back Guy Demel, which led to an argument and both being booked. The next day, Portugal contacted FIFA to suggest that Ronaldo's yellow card be rescinded since he was "pulled into" the confrontation after having already moved away from the spot where he was tackled, but the appeal was rejected.[136]

Ronaldo was named Man of the Match in all three of Portugal's Group G matches at the World Cup.[137][138][139] His only goal of the tournament came in Portugal's 7–0 group stage thrashing of North Korea on 21 June,[140] which marked his first international goal in 16 months.[141] Portugal were ultimately eliminated by Spain in the Round of 16.

Euro 2012

  Ronaldo playing against Germany at Euro 2012

"In the form he is in, given the chance, he will score. Cristiano wants to bring his team to the final and show why he should be considered the best player in the world."

Diego Maradona, on Ronaldo's opportunity to take Portugal to the final[142][143]

Ronaldo scored seven goals in Portugal's UEFA Euro 2012 qualifying campaign, behind Germany's Miroslav Klose and Netherland's Klaas-Jan Huntelaar. Portugal were drawn in Group B with Netherlands, Denmark and Germany, which was widely referred to as the "group of death" of the tournament.[144] In an interview with Kicker Magazine, Ronaldo stated that "I will only be fully content with my career when I have lifted a trophy with Portugal."[145][146][147][148]

During the match between Denmark and Portugal, the Denmark fans chanted Lionel Messi's name whenever Ronaldo was on the ball. Ronaldo squandered two gilt-edged one-on-one chances, and Ronaldo looked frustrated and tormented throughout.[149] Asked about the Messi chants, Ronaldo said: "You know where he was at this time last year? Do you know? He was being eliminated in the Copa America, in his own country. I think that's worse, no? And people say that he is the best player in the world. This sort of thing is normal for great players."[150]

In the match between Portugal and the Netherlands, Ronaldo scored two goals to secure a 2–1 victory for Portugal, allowing them to advance to the quarterfinals. He also struck the post twice in the match and was named Man of the Match.[151][152]

After Ronaldo twice hit the post, he finally darted in from behind his marker in the 79th minute and headed a cross from Joao Moutinho, sending Portugal into the semifinals with a 1-0 victory over the Czech Republic.[153] Ronaldo was also named Man of the Match.[154]

Ronaldo had several chances for Portugal in the semifinals against Spain, but he sent three shots over the bar.[155] Ronaldo had his best chance in the 90th minute but shot the ball high and wide.[156] The match ended with penalties, but Ronaldo did not take a penalty in the shootout. He had been slated to take the fifth one, but it never got that far.[157] The Portugal coach, Paulo Bento, knocked back criticism of Cristiano Ronaldo not being employed earlier in the shootout. "Well we had this plan and if it would have been 4–4 and he would have taken the last penalty we would talk in a different way," Bento said.[158][159]

Ronaldo was included in the UEFA Euro 2012 Team of the Tournament, the second time after 2004, and finished the competition as the joint best scorer with three goals, along with five other players.

International goals

Cristiano Ronaldo: International goals
Goal Date Venue Opponent Score Result Competition
1 12 June 2004 Estádio do Dragão, Porto, Portugal  Greece 1–2 1–2 Euro 2004
2 30 June 2004 Estádio José Alvalade, Lisbon, Portugal  Netherlands 1–0 2–1 Euro 2004
3 4 September 2004 Skonto Stadium, Riga, Latvia  Latvia 0–1 0–2 2006 World Cup Qualification
4 8 September 2004 Estádio Dr. Magalhães Pessoa, Leiria, Portugal  Estonia 1–0 4–0 2006 World Cup Qualification
5 13 October 2004 Estádio José Alvalade, Lisbon, Portugal  Russia 2–0 7–1 2006 World Cup Qualification
6 13 October 2004 Estádio José Alvalade, Lisbon, Portugal  Russia 4–0 7–1 2006 World Cup Qualification
7 17 November 2004 Stade Josy Barthel, Luxemburg City, Luxembourg  Luxembourg 0–2 0–5 2006 World Cup Qualification
8 4 June 2005 Estádio da Luz, Lisbon, Portugal  Slovakia 2–0 2–0 2006 World Cup Qualification
9 8 June 2005 A. Le Coq Arena, Tallinn, Estonia  Estonia 0–1 0–1 2006 World Cup Qualification
10 1 March 2006 LTU Arena, Düsseldorf, Germany  Saudi Arabia 0–1 0–3 Friendly
11 1 March 2006 LTU Arena, Düsseldorf, Germany  Saudi Arabia 0–3 0–3 Friendly
12 17 June 2006 Waldstadion, Frankfurt, Germany  Iran 2–0 2–0 2006 World Cup
13 7 October 2006 Estádio do Bessa, Porto, Portugal  Azerbaijan 1–0 3–0 Euro 2008 Qualification
14 7 October 2006 Estádio do Bessa, Porto, Portugal  Azerbaijan 3–0 3–0 Euro 2008 Qualification
15 15 November 2006 Estádio Cidade de Coimbra, Coimbra, Portugal  Kazakhstan 2–0 3–0 Euro 2008 Qualification
16 24 March 2007 Estádio José Alvalade, Lisbon, Portugal  Belgium 2–0 4–0 Euro 2008 Qualification
17 24 March 2007 Estádio José Alvalade, Lisbon, Portugal  Belgium 4–0 4–0 Euro 2008 Qualification
18 22 August 2007 Hanrapetakan Stadium, Yerevan, Armenia  Armenia 1–1 1–1 Euro 2008 Qualification
19 8 September 2007 Estádio da Luz, Lisbon, Portugal  Poland 2–1 2–2 Euro 2008 Qualification
20 17 October 2007 Almaty Central Stadium, Almaty, Kazakhstan  Kazakhstan 0–2 1–2 Euro 2008 Qualification
21 11 June 2008 Stade de Genève, Geneva, Switzerland  Czech Republic 1–2 1–3 Euro 2008
22 11 February 2009 Estádio Algarve, Faro, Portugal  Finland 1–0 1–0 Friendly
23 21 June 2010 Cape Town Stadium, Cape Town, South Africa  North Korea 6–0 7–0 2010 World Cup
24 8 October 2010 Estádio do Dragão, Porto, Portugal  Denmark 3–1 3–1 Euro 2012 Qualification
25 12 October 2010 Laugardalsvöllur, Reykjavík, Iceland  Iceland 0–1 1–3 Euro 2012 Qualification
26 9 February 2011 Stade de Genève, Geneva, Switzerland  Argentina 1–1 2–1 Friendly
27 10 August 2011 Estádio Algarve, Faro, Portugal  Luxembourg 2–0 5–0 Friendly
28 2 September 2011 GSP Stadium, Nicosia, Cyprus  Cyprus 0–1 0–4 Euro 2012 Qualification
29 2 September 2011 GSP Stadium, Nicosia, Cyprus  Cyprus 0–2 0–4 Euro 2012 Qualification
30 11 October 2011 Parken Stadium, Copenhagen, Denmark  Denmark 2–1 2–1 Euro 2012 Qualification
31 15 November 2011 Estádio da Luz, Lisbon, Portugal  Bosnia and Herzegovina 1–0 6–2 Euro 2012 Qualification
32 15 November 2011 Estádio da Luz, Lisbon, Portugal  Bosnia and Herzegovina 3–1 6–2 Euro 2012 Qualification
33 17 June 2012 Metalist Stadium, Kharkiv, Ukraine  Netherlands 1–1 2–1 Euro 2012
34 17 June 2012 Metalist Stadium, Kharkiv, Ukraine  Netherlands 2–1 2–1 Euro 2012
35 21 June 2012 National Stadium, Warsaw, Warsaw, Poland  Czech Republic 0–1 0–1 Euro 2012

Style of play

"It's hard to pick one. But I would stick with Cristiano Ronaldo because he's more complete. Messi is a genius, but I definitely prefer Cristiano Ronaldo because he's a more versatile player. Messi can't score goals with his head, he only does it from time to time, for example."

Kaká, Ronaldo's teammate at Real Madrid in June 2011.[160]

Ronaldo has been described as a "fast, tricky, strong, skillful winger and striker" who "will take on any defender with his dribbling and pace"; he hits his free kicks with "power and pace", and is able "to beat defenders off the dribble and cross the ball". He is able to score with his head and both feet.[67] He commented on his attributes saying: "My ambition is always to improve every year".[161]

Ronaldo said: "I didn't have any particular idols as a child. My ambition was to play for my national team because that's where the footballers I mostly followed played. I'm sure I used to do stuff I no longer do due to age or experience. I'm always ready to learn and I always try to improve."[161]

"If both Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo were born in different eras, they would have ruled the football scene and collected 10 FIFA Ballon d'Ors each."

José Mourinho, Ronaldo's manager at Real Madrid in May 2012.[162]

Ronaldo's increasing reputation led both the media and former great players to draw comparisons between Ronaldo and FC Barcelona forward Lionel Messi, which Ronaldo has commented on saying: "Some people say I'm better, other people say it's him, but at the end of the day, they're going to decide who is the best player. Sometimes it makes me tired. For him too because they compare us together all the time. You cannot compare a Ferrari with a Porsche because it's a different engine. You cannot compare them. He does the best things for Barcelona, I do the best things for Madrid. I think we push each other sometimes in the competition, this is why the competition is so high."[163] Brazilian legend Pelé said: "We can't compare Messi and Ronaldo. They got different styles."[164] Former Portuguese international Luis Figo stated: "It is not right to compare them [Ronaldo and Messi]. I like watching both of them when they play, why ask which one is the best? It's like when you eat something, why choose one meal, when you can try both?"[165] On 9 June 2012, Argentinian legend Diego Maradona declared that he felt that Ronaldo was "the best player on the planet."[6] Real Madrid midfielder Mesut Özil described Cristiano Ronaldo as the "perfect player".[166]

However, Ronaldo has been criticised for his performance in the national team, on which Maradona has commented: "As good as he is with Real Madrid, he often seems frustrated on the national level, as if he was surrounded by players who do little to assist him."[6] Ronaldo also has been criticised for his diving when tackled. For which José Mourinho has told: "Cristiano is a player who does not have the culture of the swimming pool, he has no culture of simulation, he is a British-trained player, Ferguson trained. In some cases, the simulators are given more protection, and those who are honest are often the losers. I'm not a hypocrite if I say that they (defenders) hit Cristiano very hard, and that the yellow cards do not arrive or are slow in coming."[167]

Outside football

Personal life

  Ronaldo during his spell at Real Madrid.

Ronaldo's father, José Dinis Aveiro, died of an alcoholism-related liver condition in September 2005 at age 52 when Ronaldo was 20.[168] Ronaldo's mother and Manchester United coach have stated that he does not drink alcohol as a result and he has received libel damages over a Daily Mirror article that reported him drinking heavily in a nightclub while recovering from an injury in July 2008.[169]

Ronaldo announced that he had become a father on 3 July 2010. His official Facebook and Twitter pages reference the birth of his son and request privacy.[170] The child, named Cristiano[171] is in full custody of Ronaldo.[170]

Ronaldo has previously dated English models Alice Goodwin[172] and Gemma Atkinson, and since the start of 2010, he has been dating Russian model Irina Shayk.[173]


Television footage of the 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake and tsunami showed an eight-year-old boy wearing a No. 7 Portuguese football jersey who was stranded for 19 days after his family was killed. Following this, Ronaldo visited Aceh, Indonesia, to raise funds for rehabilitation and reconstruction.[174][175]

In 2009, Ronaldo donated £100,000 to the hospital that saved his mother's life in Madeira following her battle with cancer, so that they could build a cancer centre in his native island Madeira.[176]

In support of the victims of the 2010 Madeira flood, Ronaldo played in a charity match in Madeira between the Primeira Liga club FC Porto and players from Madeiran based clubs Marítimo and Nacional.[177]

In May 2012, Ronaldo and his agent, Jorge Mendes, decided to fund a pioneering treatment for a nine-year-old boy when it seemed that there was no hope left for the child, who has been battling cancer since before his second birthday.[178]


In March 2010, France Football ranked Ronaldo at the top third of its list of the world's richest footballers, behind David Beckham and Lionel Messi, with £27 million (€29.2 million) in combined income from salaries, bonuses and off-field earnings.[179][180] His net wealth is estimated at $160 million.[181] In June 2012, SportsPro rated Ronaldo as the 5th most remarkable athlete in the world.[182]


Ronaldo's autobiography, titled Moments, was published in December 2007.[183] Along with one of his sisters, Ronaldo opened a fashion boutique under the name "CR7" (his initials and shirt number).[184] There are currently two CR7 shop locations, both of which are in Portugal; one in Lisbon and the other in Madeira.

On 9 June 2010, Madame Tussauds London unveiled Ronaldo's waxwork as part of the build-up to the World Cup. Ronaldo joined fellow footballers Steven Gerrard, Pelé and David Beckham at the event's venue.[185] Ronaldo is sponsored by the U.S. sportswear company Nike and features in their television advertisements.[186]

Ronaldo was featured on the front cover of the video games FIFA Street 2 and Pro Evolution Soccer 2008. In May 2011, Ronaldo was confirmed as the new face of FIFA's rival football series PES with his debut as a cover star of the series Pro Evolution Soccer 2012 and is also involved in promotional campaigns for the game.[187] In December 2011, Cristiano launched an iPhone game called Heads Up with Cristiano. The game is created by developer RockLive.[188] Ronaldo will be the face of Pro Evolution Soccer 2013, and is also involved in the motion capturing and the trailer.[189]

In August 2010, Ronaldo reached 10 million fans on Facebook and in doing so made history by becoming the first non-American personality ever to achieve that kind of success on the social networking site.[190] According to Forbes, Ronaldo had the 5th highest social rank in the world in 2012, bettered only by Lady Gaga, Rihanna, Justin Bieber, and Katy Perry.[191]

In September 2011, Castrol EDGE presented "Cristiano Ronaldo: Tested to the Limit", an award-winning documentary that showed Ronaldo undertaking a series of challenges while under scientific examination.[192] On 17 May 2012, Ronaldo and Castrol EDGE launched a live-streamed football challenge against fans through Facebook. #RonaldoLIVE was the world's first interactive football challenge streamed live through Facebook from a state-of-the-art testing facility in Madrid.[193]

Career statistics


Statistics accurate as of 2 July 2012.

Club Season League1 Cup League Cup Europe Other2 Total
Apps Goals Assists Apps Goals Assists Apps Goals Assists Apps Goals Assists Apps Goals Assists Apps Goals Assists
Sporting CP 2002–03 25 3 3 2 3 0 0 0 31 5
Total 25 3 3 2 3 0 0 0 31 5
Manchester United 2003–04 29 4 4 5 2 0 1 0 0 5 2 0 0 0 0 40 6 4
2004–05 33 5 4 7 4 0 2 0 0 8 0 0 0 0 0 50 9 4
2005–06 33 9 6 1 1 0 4 2 1 8 1 0 47 12 7
2006–07 34 17 14 7 3 1 1 0 0 11 3 5 53 23 20
2007–08 34 31 7 3 3 0 0 0 0 13 9 1 1 0 0 49 42 8
2008–09 33 18 6 2 1 0 4 2 0 12 4 2 2 1 0 53 26 8
Total 196 84 41 26 14 1 12 4 1 55 16 8 3 1 0 292 118 51
Real Madrid 2009–10 29 26 7 0 0 0 6 7 0 35 33 7
2010–11 34 40 10 8 7 0 12 6 4 54 53 14
2011–12 38 46 12 5 3 0 10 10 3 2 1 0 55 60 15
Total 101 112 29 13 10 0 28 23 7 2 1 0 144 146 36
Career total 322 199 70 42 25 1 12 4 1 86 39 15 5 2 0 467 269 87

12010–11 season notice: Does not include one goal scored on 18 September 2010 against Real Sociedad. Marca, which awards the Pichichi Trophy, attribute it to Ronaldo while La Liga and UEFA attribute it to Pepe.[97]

2Includes other competitive competitions, including the Supertaça Cândido de Oliveira, FA Community Shield, UEFA Super Cup, FIFA Club World Cup and Supercopa de España.


  Ronaldo playing for Portugal
As of 17 June 2012[194]
National team Year Apps Goals
Portugal 2003 2 0
2004 16 7
2005 10 2
2006 14 6
2007 10 5
2008 8 1
2009 7 1
2010 11 3
2011 9 7
2012 8 3
Total 95 35

Career totals

  Ronaldo with Lionel Messi, February 2011
Professional career totals
Teams Appearances Goals Goals per game
Clubs 467 269 0.58
National team 095 035 0.37
Olympic final 003 001 0.33
Total 565 305 0.54

Statistics accurate as of match played 27 June 2012.


Manchester United
Real Madrid




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Preceded by
Nuno Gomes
Portugal national football team captain
Succeeded by



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