Not to be confused with Brazilian footballer Ronaldo.
This name uses Portuguese naming customs. The first or maternal family name is Santos and the second or paternal family name is Aveiro.
Cristiano Ronaldo dos Santos Aveiro ,ComM, GOIH (Portuguese pronunciation: [kɾiʃ’tjɐnu ʁuˈnaɫdu], born 5 February 1985) is a Portuguese professional footballer who plays for Spanish club Real Madrid and the Portugal national team. Often ranked as the best player in the world, Ronaldo was named the best Portuguese player of all time by the
Portuguese Football Federation, during its 100th anniversary celebrations in 2015. He is the only player to win four European Golden Shoe awards. One of the most marketable athletes in sport, in 2016 Forbes named Ronaldo the world’s best paid athlete. In June 2016, ESPN ranked him the world’s most famous athlete.
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. 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. His great-grandmother Isabel da Piedade was from Cape Verde. The family was staunchly Catholic. Ronaldo later said that he grew up in poverty, sharing a room with his brother and sisters.
As a child, Ronaldo played for amateur team Andorinha, where his father was the kit man, and later spent two years with local club Nacional . In 1997, aged 12, he went on a three-day trial with Sporting CP, who signed him for a fee of £1,500. He subsequently moved to Alcochete , near Lisbon , to join Sporting’s other youth players at the club’s football academy. By age 14, Ronaldo believed he had the ability to play semi-professionally, and agreed with his mother to cease his education in order to focus entirely on football.
While popular with other students at school, he had been expelled after throwing a chair at his teacher, who he said had “disrespected” him. A year later, however, he was diagnosed with a racing heart, a condition that could have forced him to give up playing football. He underwent an operation in which a laser was used to cauterise the affected area of his heart; discharged from hospital hours after the procedure, he resumed training only a few days later.
At age 16, Ronaldo was promoted from Sporting’s youth team by first-team manager László Bölöni , who was impressed with his dribbling. He subsequently became the first player to play for the club’s under-16, under-17, and under-18 teams, the B team, and the first team, all within one season. A year later, on 7 October 2002, Ronaldo made his debut in the Primeira Liga , against Moreirense, and scored two goals in their 3–0 win. Over the course of the 2002–03 season , his representatives suggested the player to Liverpool manager Gérard Houllier and Barcelona president Joan Laporta . Manager Arsène Wenger , who was interested in signing the winger, met with him at Arsenal ‘s grounds in November to discuss a possible transfer.
Ronaldo came to the attention of Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson in August 2003, when Sporting defeated United 3–1 at the inauguration of the Estádio José Alvalade in Lisbon. His performance impressed the Manchester United players, who urged Ferguson to sign him.  Ferguson himself considered the 18-year-old “one of the most exciting young players” he had ever seen. A decade after his departure from the club, in April 2013, Sporting honoured Ronaldo by selecting him to become their 100,000th member.
2003–06: Development and breakthrough
Ronaldo became Manchester United’s first-ever Portuguese player when he signed before the 2003–04 season. His transfer fee of £12.24 million made him, at the time, the most expensive teenager in English football history. Although he requested the number 28, his number at Sporting, he received the number 7 shirt, which had previously been worn by such United legends as George Best, Eric Cantona , and David Beckham . Wearing the number 7 became an extra source of motivation for Ronaldo, who stated that his goal was to establish himself among the world’s best players within the next three years. A key element in his development during his time in England proved to be his manager, Alex Ferguson, of whom he later said, “He’s been my father in sport, one of the most important and influential factors in my career”.
Ronaldo made his debut in the Premier League in a 4–0 home victory over Bolton Wanderers on 16 August 2003, receiving a standing ovation when he came on as a 60th-minute substitute for Nicky Butt. His performance earned praise from George Best, who hailed it as “undoubtedly the most exciting debut” he had ever seen.
His World Cup altercation with Rooney resulted in Ronaldo being booed throughout the 2006–07 season, it proved to be his breakout year, as he broke the 20-goal barrier for the first time and won his first Premier League title. An important factor in this success was his one-to-one training by first-team coach René Meulensteen , who taught him to make himself more unpredictable, improve his teamwork, call for the ball, and capitalise on goalscoring opportunities rather than waiting for the chance to score the aesthetically pleasing goals for which he was already known. His upturn in form was showcased in November when he received a standing ovation from a section Blackburn Rovers supporters as he was substituted.He scored three consecutive braces at the end of December, against Aston Villa—a victory which put United on top of the league—Wigan Athletic, and Read Ronaldo was named the Premier League Player of the Month in November and December, becoming only the third player to receive consecutive honours.
2007–09: Collective and individual success
At the quarter-final stage of the 2006–07 UEFA Champions League, Ronaldo scored his first-ever goals in the competition, finding the net twice in a 7–1 victory over Roma. He subsequently scored four minutes into the first semi-final leg against Milan, which ended in a 3–2 win, but was marked out of the second leg as United lost 3–0 at the San Siro .He also helped United reach the FA Cup final, putting them 2–1 up against Watford, but the decisive match against Chelsea ended in a 1–0 defeat. Ronaldo netted the only goal in the Manchester derby on 5 May 2007—his 50th goal for the club—as Manchester United claimed their first Premier League title in four years. As a result of his performances, he amassed a host of personal awards for the season. He won the Professional Footballers’ Association ‘s Player’s Player , Fans’ Player , and Young Player of the Year awards, as well as the Football Writers’ Association ‘s Footballer of the Year award,  becoming the first player to win all four main PFA and FWA honours. His club wages were concurrently upgraded to £120,000 a week (£31 million total) as part of a five-year contract extension with United. Ronaldo scored a total of 42 goals in all competitions during the 2007–08 season, his most prolific campaign during his time in England. His first goal of the season came against his former club, Sporting, with a header in the first group match of the Champions League.
He missed three matches after headbutting a Portsmouth player at the start of the season, an experience he said taught him not to let opponents provoke him, but still managed to score 13 league goals by the campaign’s midway point. At the end of 2007, four years after proclaiming his desire to become one of the world’s best players, Ronaldo achieved his goal when he was named runner-up to Kaká for the Ballon d’Or , as voted for by sports journalists, and came third, behind Kaká and Lionel Messi, in the running for the FIFA World Player of the Year award, as determined by international managers and captains.
Ronaldo scored his first and only hat-trick for Manchester United in a 6–0 win against Newcastle United on 12 January 2008, bringing United up to the top of the Premier League table. A month later, on 19 March, he captained United for the first time in a home win over Bolton, and scored both goals of the match. His second goal was his 33rd of the campaign, which bettered George Best’s total of 32 goals in the 1967–68 season, thus setting the club’s new single-season record by a midfielder. Ronaldo scored his final league goal of the season from the penalty spot in the title decider against Wigan on 11 May, as United claimed a second successive Premier League title. His 31 league goals earned him the Premier League Golden Boot, as well as the European Golden Shoe, which made him the first winger to win the latter award.
In the knockout stage of the Champions League, Ronaldo scored the decisive goal against Lyon, which helped United advance to the quarter-finals 2–1 on aggregate,  and, while playing as a striker, scored with a header in the 3–0 aggregate victory over Roma. Despite him missing a penalty in the first leg against Barcelona,  United eventually advanced to the final in Moscow, where they faced Chelsea. His opening goal was negated by an equalizer as the match ended in a 1–1 draw, but although his penalty was saved in the shoot-out, Manchester United emerged victorious.
As the Champions League top scorer, Ronaldo was named the UEFA Club Footballer of the Year. He additionally received the PFA Players’ Player of the Year and FWA Footballer of the Year awards for the second consecutive season. As rumours circulated of Ronaldo’s interest in moving to Real Madrid, United filed a tampering complaint with governing body FIFA over Madrid’s alleged pursuit of their player, but they declined to take action.
2009–12: World record transfer and La Liga championship
Ahead of the 2009–10 season, Ronaldo joined Real Madrid for a world record transfer fee of £80 million (€94 million).  His contract, which ran until 2015, was worth €11 million per year and contained a €1 billion buy-out clause. At least 80,000 fans attended his presentation at the Santiago Bernabéu , surpassing the 25-year record of 75,000 fans who had welcomed Diego Maradona at Napoli .
Since club captain Raúl already wore the number 7, Ronaldo received the number 9 shirt, which was presented to him by Madrid legend Alfredo Di Stéfano.
Ronaldo made his debut in La Liga on 29 August 2009, against Deportivo La Coruña , and scored from the penalty spot in Madrid’s 3–2 home win. He scored in each of his first four league fixtures with the club, the first Madrid player to do so. His first Champions League goals for the club followed with two free kicks in the first group match against Zürich.His strong start to the season, however, was interrupted when he suffered an ankle injury in October while on international duty, which kept him sidelined for seven weeks. A week after his return, he received his first red card in Spain in a match against Almería, which also saw him miss a penalty. Midway through the season, Ronaldo placed second in the running for the Ballon d’Or and the FIFA World Player of the Year award, behind Lionel Messi of Barcelona, Madrid’s historic rivals. He finished the campaign with 33 goals in all competitions, including a hat-trick in a 4–1 win against Mallorca on 5 May 2010, his first in the Spanish competition. His first season at Real Madrid ended trophyless. Following Raúl’s departure, Ronaldo was handed the number 7 shirt for Real Madrid before the 2010–11 season. His subsequent return to his Ballon d’Or-winning form was epitomized when, for the first time in his career, he scored four goals in a single match during a 6–1 rout against Racing Santander on 23 October. His haul concluded a goalscoring run of six consecutive matches—three in La Liga, one in the Champions League, and two for Portugal—totalling 11 goals, the most he had scored in a single month. Ronaldo subsequently netted further hat-tricks against Athletic Bilbao, Levante , Villarreal, and
Málaga. Despite his scoring rate, he failed to make the podium for the inaugural FIFA Ballon d’Or at the end of 2010, marking the only year during his time in Spain to date that he was not named one of the world’s two best players.
During a historical series of four Clásicos against rivals Barcelona in April 2011, Ronaldo scored twice to equal his personal record of 42 goals in all competitions in a single season. Although he failed to find the net during Madrid’s eventual elimination in the Champions League semi-finals, he equalised from the penalty spot in the return league game and scored the match-winning goal in the 103rd minute of the Copa del Rey final, winning his first trophy in Spain. Over the next two weeks, Ronaldo scored another four-goal haul against Sevilla , a hat-trick against
Getafe, and a brace of free kicks against Villarreal, taking his league total to 38 goals, which equaled the record for most goals scored in a season held by Telmo Zarra and Hugo Sánchez. His two goals in the last match of the season, against Almería, made him the first player in La Liga to score 40 goals. In addition to the Pichichi Trophy, Ronaldo consequently won the European Golden Shoe for a second time, becoming the first player to win the award in two different leagues. He ended his second season at Real Madrid with a total of 53 goals in all competitions.
During the following campaign, the 2011–12 season , Ronaldo surpassed his previous goalscoring feats to achieve a new personal best of 60 goals across all competitions. His 100th goal for Real Madrid came at Camp Nou in the Supercopa de España , though Barcelona claimed the trophy 5–4 on aggregate. He regained a place on the FIFA Ballon d’Or podium, as runner-up to Messi, after scoring hat-tricks against Real Zaragoza , Rayo Vallecano , Málaga, Osasuna , and Sevilla, the last of which put Madrid on top of the league by the season’s midway point. Despite two goals from Ronaldo, Madrid were subsequently defeated by Barcelona 4–3 on aggregate in the quarter-finals of the Copa del Rey. He again scored twice, including a penalty, in the Champions League semi-finals against Bayern Munich, resulting in a 3–3 draw, but his penalty kick in the shootout was saved by Manuel Neuer, leading to Madrid’s elimination.
Following the 2012–13 winter break, Ronaldo captained Real Madrid for the first time in an official match, scoring a brace to lift 10-man Madrid to a 4–3 victory over Real Sociedad on 6 January.  He subsequently became the first non-Spanish player in 60 years to captain Madrid in El Clásico on 30 January, a match which also marked his 500th club appearance.
Three days prior, he had scored his 300th club goal as part of a perfect hat-trick against Getafe. Following hat-tricks against Celta Vigo and Sevilla, he scored his 200th goal for Real Madrid on 8 May in a 6–2 win against Málaga, reaching the landmark in just 197 games. He helped Madrid reach the Copa del Rey final by scoring a brace in El Clásico , which marked the sixth successive match at Camp Nou in which he had scored, a scoring streak twice as long as that of any other player in Madrid’s history. In the final, he headed the opening goal of an eventual 2–1 defeat to Atlético Madrid, but was shown a straight red card in the 114th minute for violent conduct.
Real Madrid also failed to defend their La Liga title, finishing runners up to Barcelona.
In the first knockout round of the Champions League, Ronaldo faced his former club Manchester United for the first time. After scoring the equaliser in a 1–1 draw at the Santiago Bernabéu, he netted the match-winning goal in a 2–1 victory at Old Trafford, his first return to his former home grounds; afterwards, he commented that he felt sadness at having caused United’s elimination from the competition. Ronaldo scored three goals in Madrid’s 5–3 aggregate victory over Galatasaray to see them advance to the semi-finals, He scored Madrid’s only goal in the 4–1 away defeat to Borussia Dortmund, but failed to increase his side’s 2–0 victory in the second leg, as they were eliminated at the semi-final stage for the third consecutive year. Ronaldo had scored 12 goals, finishing as the Champions League top goalscorer for a second time in his career. Accounting for all competitions, he ended the season with a total of 55 goals.
Real Madrid’s failure to win major silverware and reports of division among the players prompted speculation regarding Ronaldo’s future at the club. At the start of the 2013–14 season, however, he signed a new contract that extended his stay by three years to 2018, with a salary of €17 million net, making him briefly the highest-paid player in football. He was joined at the club by winger Gareth Bale, whose world record transfer fee of €100 million surpassed the fee Madrid had paid for Ronaldo four years prior. Together with striker Karim Benzema, they formed an attacking trio popularly dubbed BBC, an acronym of Bale, Benzema, and Cristiano. After enjoying a strong goalscoring run during the first half of the campaign, Ronaldo suggested that he was in the best form of his career. By late November, he had scored 32 goals from 22 matches played for both club and country, including hat-tricks against Galatasaray, Sevilla, Real Sociedad, Northern Ireland, and Sweden.He ended 2013 with a total of 69 goals in 59 appearances, his highest year-end goal tally. His efforts earned him the FIFA Ballon d’Or for a second time in his career, though the media vote favoured Franck Ribéry. The achievement fuelled public recognition of Ronaldo as one of the greatest players in football history.
2015–present: All-time Real Madrid goalscorer and La Undécima
Following the winter break, Ronaldo’s form faltered, concurrently with a decline in performance by his team. A 2–1 defeat against Valencia in the first match of 2015, despite his opening goal, ended Real Madrid’s Spanish record winning streak of 22 matches in all competitions. Their season continued unsuccessfully as they failed to win a major trophy, earning a second-place league finish and a semi-final exit in Europe. In the latter competition, Ronaldo extended his run of scoring away to a record 12 matches with his strike in a 2–0 win against Schalke 04, before hitting a brace in the 3–4 return defeat that allowed Madrid to progress to the quarter-finals. He then scored both of his side’s goals in the semi-finals against Juventus, where Madrid were eliminated 2–3 on aggregate. With 10 goals, he finished the campaign as top scorer for a third consecutive season, alongside Messi and Neymar.
In La Liga, where Madrid finished second, Ronaldo went on a prolific goalscoring run towards the very end of the season. For the first time in his career, he scored five goals in one game, including an eight-minute hat-trick, in a 9–1 rout of Granada on 5 April. His 300th goal for his club followed three days later in a 2–0 win against Rayo Vallecano. Subsequent hat-tricks against Sevilla, Espanyol, and Getafe took his number of hat-tricks for Real Madrid to 31, surpassing Di Stéfano’s club record of 28 trebles. As a result, Ronaldo finished the season with 48 goals, two ahead of his total in the 2011–12 season, despite having missed two matches in February for assaulting a Córdoba player. In addition to a second consecutive Pichichi, he won the European Golden Shoe for a record fourth time.
At the start of his seventh season at Real Madrid, the 2015–16 campaign , Ronaldo became the club’s all-time top scorer , first in the league and then in all competitions. His five-goal haul in a 6–0 away win over Espanyol on 12 September took his tally in La Liga to 230 goals in 203 games, surpassing the club’s previous recordholder, Raúl. A month later, on 17 October, he again surpassed Raúl when he scored the second goal in a 3–0 defeat of Levante at the Bernabéu to take his overall total for the club to 324 goals.
Ronaldo also became the all-time top scorer in the Champions League with a hat-trick in the first group match against Shakhtar Donetsk, having finished the previous season level with Messi on 77 goals. A brace against Malmö, netted in a 2–0 away win on 30 September, saw him reach the milestone of 500 career goals for both club and country.
He subsequently became the first player to score double figures in the competition’s group stage, setting the record at 11 goals, including another four-goal haul against Malmö.
Despite finishing runner-up to Messi for the FIFA Ballon d’Or, Ronaldo received criticism for his form and performances against top teams, with 14 of his goals coming against Espanyol and Malmö. During the second half of the season, however, his form gradually improved.
By scoring four goals in a 7–1 home win over Celta Vigo on 5 March 2016, Ronaldo arrived at 252 goals in La Liga to become the competition’s second-highest scorer in history behind Messi.
Ronaldo is widely regarded as one of the two best players of his generation, alongside Lionel Messi, and as one of the best players to ever play the game. Acclaimed for his prolific and consistent goalscoring ability, he is considered a decisive player, who stands out in games and who can be a game changer. Ronaldo is noted for his work ethic and dedication to improvement on the training field. His drive and determination to succeed are fuelled by a desire to carve his name in history alongside footballing legends such as Pelé and Diego Maradona.
Ronaldo has at times been criticised for diving when tackled, about which his former Real Madrid manager José Mourinho responded: “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”. Despite his talent, he was also occasionally criticised early in his career by manager Alex Ferguson , team mates and the media for being a selfish or overly flamboyant player.
Earlier in his career, Ronaldo had also been described as having an “arrogant image” on the field, with Ronaldo stating that he had become a “victim”, because of how he was portrayed in the media. He is often seen moaning, gesticulating and scowling while trying to inspire his team to victory, with Ronaldo insisting that his competitive nature should not be mistaken for arrogance. His managers, team-mates and various journalists have commented that this reputation has caused an unfair image of him.Law, Matt (18 April 2012). “Luiz Felipe Scolari: ‘Cristiano Ronaldo’s problem is Lionel Messi’ ” . Sports Mole. Retrieved 2 September 2013. In 2014, Ronaldo told France Football that he had made a “mistake” when he said in 2011, “People are jealous of me as I am young handsome and rich”, adding that he had matured since then and fans understood him better.
Comparisons to Lionel Messi
Both players have scored in two UEFA Champions League finals and have regularly broken the 50 goal barrier in a single season. Sports journalists and pundits regularly argue the individual merits of both players in an attempt to argue who they believe is the best player in modern football. It has been compared to legendary sports rivalries such as the Muhammad Ali-
Some commentators choose to analyse the differing physiques and playing styles of the two, while part of the debate revolves around the contrasting personalities of the two players: Ronaldo is sometimes depicted as an arrogant and theatrical showoff, while Messi is portrayed as a shy, humble character.
In a 2012 interview, Ronaldo commented on the rivalry, saying “I think we push each other sometimes in the competition, this is why the competition is so high”, while Ronaldo’s manager during his time at
Manchester United, Alex Ferguson, opined that “I don’t think the rivalry against each other bothers them. I think they have their own personal pride in terms of wanting to be the best”. Messi himself denied any rivalry, saying that it was “only the media, the press, who wants us to be at loggerheads but I’ve never fought with Cristiano”. Responding to the claims that he and Messi do not get on well on a personal level, Ronaldo commented; “We don’t have a relationship outside the world of football, just as we don’t with a lot of other players”, before adding that in years to come he hopes they can laugh about it together, stating; “We have to look on this rivalry with a positive spirit, because it’s a good thing.”Representing arch rivals Barcelona and Real Madrid, the two players face each other at least twice every season in the world’s biggest club game, El Clásico , which had a global audience of 400 million viewers in March 2014.
In a debate at Oxford Union in October 2013, when asked whether FIFA president Sepp Blatter preferred Messi or Ronaldo, Blatter paid tribute to the work ethic of the Argentine before taking a swipe at Ronaldo, claiming “one of them has more expenses for the hairdresser than the other”. Real Madrid demanded – and promptly received – a full apology, and the Portuguese issued his own riposte with a mock-salute celebration after scoring a penalty against Sevilla, after Blatter had described him as a “commander” on the pitch.
Forbes has twice ranked Ronaldo first on their list of the world’s highest-paid football players; his combined income from salaries, bonuses and off-field earnings was $73 million in 2013–14 and $79 million in 2014–15.The latter earnings saw him listed behind only boxer Floyd Mayweather, Jr. on the magazine’s list of The World’s Highest-Paid Athletes. In 2016 he became the first footballer to top the Forbes list of highest-earning athletes, with a total income of $88 million from his salary and endorsements in 2015–16. Ronaldo is one of the world’s most marketable athletes: SportsPro rated him the fifth most marketable athlete in and eighth most marketable athlete in 2013, with Brazilian footballer Neymar topping both lists.
Sports market research company Repucom named Ronaldo the most marketable and most recognised football player in the world in May 2014. He was additionally named in the 2014 Time 100, Time’s annual list of the most influential people in the world. In June 2016, ESPN named Ronaldo the world’s most famous athlete.
CareerCaptains INTERNATIONAL recognizes this great footballer of repute as a CAPTAIN OF FOOTBALL.