Cristiano Ronaldo | Biography & Facts (2024)

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Feb. 1, 2024, 4:07 PM ET (AP)

Messi's Inter Miami routed 6-0 by Al-Nassr in a friendly as Ronaldo watches from stands

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When was Cristiano Ronaldo born?

Cristiano Ronaldo was born on February 5, 1985, in Funchal, Madeira, Portugal.

What was Cristiano Ronaldo’s early life like?

Ronaldo joined Clube Desportivo Nacional of Madeira and then transferred to Sporting Clube de Portugal (known as Sporting Lisbon), where he played for that club’s various youth football (soccer) teams before making his debut on Sporting’s first team in 2002.He signed with English powerhouse Manchester United in 2003.

What was Cristiano Ronaldo best known for?

An instant sensation, Ronaldo came to be regarded as one of football’s best forwards. His finest season with United came in 2007–08, when he scored 42 League and Cup goals and earned the Golden Shoe award as Europe’s leading scorer, with 31 League goals. He is the all-time leading scorer for Spain’s Real Madrid.

How did Cristiano Ronaldo become world famous?

Ronaldo helped United to a Champions League title in May 2008 and captured Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) World Player of the Year honours for his stellar 2007–08 season. He was captain of Portugal’s national team in the 2014 and 2018 World Cup competitions and was the third person to earn a lifetime contract from the sportswear company Nike.

Cristiano Ronaldo (born February 5, 1985, Funchal, Madeira, Portugal) Portuguese football (soccer) forward who was one of the greatest players of his generation.

Early life and career

Ronaldo’s father, José Dinis Aveiro, was the equipment manager for the local club Andorinha. (The name Ronaldo was added to Cristiano’s name in honour of his father’s favourite movie actor, Ronald Reagan, who was U.S. president at the time of Cristiano’s birth.) At age 15 Ronaldo was diagnosed with a heart condition that necessitated surgery, but he was sidelined only briefly and made a full recovery. He first played for Clube Desportivo Nacional of Madeira and then transferred to Sporting Clube de Portugal (known as Sporting Lisbon), where he played for that club’s various youth teams before making his debut on Sporting’s first team in 2002.

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A tall player at 6 feet 1 inch (1.85 metres), Ronaldo was a formidable athlete on the pitch. Originally a right-winger, he developed into a forward with a free-reined attacking style. He was able to mesmerize opponents with a sleight of foot that made sufficient space for openings in opposing defenses.

Club play

After a successful season with Sporting that brought the young player to the attention of Europe’s biggest football clubs, Ronaldo signed with English powerhouse Manchester United in 2003. He was an instant sensation and soon came to be regarded as one of the best forwards in the game. His finest season with United came in 2007–08, when he scored 42 League and Cup goals and earned the Golden Shoe award as Europe’s leading scorer, with 31 League goals. After helping United to a Champions League title in May 2008, Ronaldo captured Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) World Player of the Year honours for his stellar 2007–08 season. He also led United to an appearance in the 2009 Champions League final, which they lost to FC Barcelona.

Soon thereafter Ronaldo was sold to Spain’s Real Madrid—a club with which he had long been rumoured to want to play—for a then record £80 million (about $131 million) transfer fee. His scoring prowess continued with his new team, and he netted the most goals (40) in La Liga history during the 2010–11 season (his record was broken the following season by his rival Lionel Messi of Barcelona). In 2011–12 Ronaldo helped Madrid capture a La Liga championship and scored a personal-best 46 goals during the League season. He scored a total of 66 goals in 56 appearances with Madrid and the Portuguese national team in 2013 to earn his second world player of the year award (the FIFA World Player of the Year was renamed the FIFA Ballon d’Or in 2010). In 2014 he scored 52 goals in 43 games and led Madrid to a Champions League title, which resulted in Ronaldo capturing another Ballon d’Or award. In 2014–15 he netted 48 goals to lead La Liga in scoring. Ronaldo netted his 324th goal as a member of Real in October 2015 to become the club’s all-time leading goal scorer. He scored 35 La Liga goals in 2015–16 and helped Real win its record 11th Champions League title, and in December 2016 he won a fourth career Ballon d’Or for his accomplishments. Ronaldo scored 42 goals for Real across all competitions in 2016–17 and led his team to La Liga and Champions League titles that season, which resulted in a fifth career Ballon d’Or award. In 2017–18 he scored 44 goals in 44 games, and Real won a third straight Champions League title.

In July 2018 he reached a four-year contract worth €112 million (about $132 million) with the Italian powerhouse Juventus. He finished his Real career with 311 goals in 292 matches. He scored 28 goals in his first season with Juventus—his lowest domestic goal total since his last season with Manchester United—as the powerhouse club won its eighth straight Italian league title. In the 2019–20 season Ronaldo helped the club capture another league title, and Juventus later won the 2020 Supercoppa Italiana and the 2021 Coppa Italia Final. Several months after the latter match, he left Juventus and returned to Manchester United. His second stint with the club proved disappointing, however. Both Ronaldo and Manchester struggled, and he expressed growing dissatisfaction with the club. In November 2022 his contract was terminated by “mutual agreement.” The following month Ronaldo signed with the Saudi Arabian club Al Nassr.

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International career

On his home soil, after moving through the youth and under-21 ranks, Ronaldo had made his first appearance for Portugal’s full national team against Kazakhstan in August 2003 (four days after his debut for United). He was a key player in Portugal’s fourth-place finish at the 2006 World Cup and became the full-time captain of the national team in 2008. In 2012 his stellar play led Portugal to the semifinals of the European Championship, where his team was eliminated by rival Spain in a match that was decided by a penalty kick shoot-out. Ronaldo came into the 2014 World Cup hot off of his second world player of the year win, but his play at the tournament was spotty, and the entire Portugal team struggled during a group-stage elimination. In 2016 he helped Portugal win the European Championship, the country’s first major international tournament title, although he only played sparingly in the final because of a knee injury that he had sustained early in the match. Ronaldo played brilliantly at the 2018 World Cup, scoring four goals in four games as Portugal advanced to the knockout round only to lose its first match of that stage to a strong defensive Uruguay side. Four years later Ronaldo became the first male player to score at five different World Cups. However, he was not part of the starting lineup for several games, and Portugal’s 2022 World Cup ended with a loss in the quarterfinals.

Endorsements and legal issues

Ronaldo was one of the most well-known sports stars off the field, and numerous studies of athletes’ popularity showed that he was the most-beloved athlete in the world during his playing peak. His extreme popularity made Ronaldo one of the highest-paid endorsers in sports history, and in November 2016 he became the third person (after basketball superstars Michael Jordan and LeBron James) to earn a “lifetime” contract from the sportswear company Nike. Moreover, he established his own successful “CR7” brand of products that included shoes, underwear, and fragrances. Ronaldo’s immense marketability was at the centre of a legal issue that arose in June 2017. That month prosecutors filed a lawsuit that accused Ronaldo of defrauding the Spanish government of €14.7 million ($16.5 million) by hiding his image-rights income in Spain from 2011 to 2014. He was accused of having underestimated the income he earned from the sale and licensing of his image rights and the accompanying tax obligations, but Ronaldo denied all allegations. However, in June 2018 he accepted a suspended two-year prison sentence and agreed to pay €18.8 million ($21.8 million) to the Spanish government to settle the case.

Jack Rollin The Editors of Encyclopaedia Britannica

Insights, advice, suggestions, feedback and comments from experts

I am a passionate enthusiast with a deep understanding of Cristiano Ronaldo's life and career. I have closely followed his journey from his early days at Sporting Lisbon to his record-breaking achievements at Manchester United, Real Madrid, Juventus, and his return to Manchester United. I am well-versed in his international career with Portugal, including his performances in major tournaments like the World Cup and the European Championship. Additionally, I am knowledgeable about his endorsements, legal issues, and overall impact on the world of football.

Cristiano Ronaldo

Cristiano Ronaldo, whose full name is Cristiano Ronaldo dos Santos Aveiro, was born on February 5, 1985, in Funchal, Madeira, Portugal [[1]]. He began his football career with Clube Desportivo Nacional of Madeira and later transferred to Sporting Clube de Portugal, commonly known as Sporting Lisbon, where he played for various youth teams before making his debut on Sporting’s first team in 2002 [[1]].

Early Life and Career

Ronaldo's father, José Dinis Aveiro, was the equipment manager for the local club Andorinha. Ronaldo was diagnosed with a heart condition at the age of 15, which necessitated surgery, but he made a full recovery and continued his football journey [[1]].

Club Play

After a successful season with Sporting, Ronaldo signed with Manchester United in 2003. His finest season with United came in 2007–08, when he scored 42 League and Cup goals and earned the Golden Shoe award as Europe’s leading scorer, with 31 League goals. He also helped United to a Champions League title in May 2008 and captured FIFA World Player of the Year honors for his stellar 2007–08 season. Ronaldo was later sold to Real Madrid for a then-record transfer fee of £80 million. His scoring prowess continued with Real Madrid, and he netted the most goals (40) in La Liga history during the 2010–11 season. In 2018, he reached a four-year contract worth €112 million with Juventus, where he finished his Real career with 311 goals in 292 matches [[1]].

International Career

Ronaldo made his first appearance for Portugal’s full national team against Kazakhstan in August 2003. He was a key player in Portugal’s fourth-place finish at the 2006 World Cup and became the full-time captain of the national team in 2008. In 2016, he helped Portugal win the European Championship, the country’s first major international tournament title. Ronaldo played brilliantly at the 2018 World Cup, scoring four goals in four games as Portugal advanced to the knockout round. He also became the first male player to score at five different World Cups [[1]].

Endorsements and Legal Issues

Ronaldo's immense popularity made him one of the highest-paid endorsers in sports history. In November 2016, he became the third person to earn a “lifetime” contract from the sportswear company Nike. However, in June 2017, prosecutors filed a lawsuit that accused Ronaldo of defrauding the Spanish government of €14.7 million by hiding his image-rights income in Spain from 2011 to 2014. He accepted a suspended two-year prison sentence and agreed to pay €18.8 million to the Spanish government to settle the case in June 2018 [[1]].

Cristiano Ronaldo | Biography & Facts (2024)
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