Son of Maria Dolores dos Santos Aveiro and José Dinis Aveiro, Cristiano Ronaldo was born on February 5, 1985 in Funchal, Madeira, Portugal to the name Cristiano Ronaldo dos Santos Aveiro. His second name Ronaldo was given to him by his father, who was a great admirer of U.S. president Ronald Regan. The youngest of four children, Cristiano Ronaldo has three siblings; an older brother Hugo and two sisters; Elma and Liliana Cátia who works as a singer in Portugal by the stage name Ronalda.
The Portuguese footballer who plays for Barclays Premier League 2006-2007, 2007-2008 Champions and winner of the 2007-2008 Champions League; Manchester United. Wearing the number 7 shirt, he plays as a winger, a central attacker and as a second forward. His passion for football was seen as early as age three and by age six when he started primary school this passion became even more obvious. His football career started at age eight when he first played for an amateur team Andorinha, for which his father was the kit man. In 1995 at just ten years old, his reputation grew in Portugal, this saw the two top teams in Madeira, in CS Marítimo and CD Nacional showing a keen interest in signing the youngster. He signed for CD Nacional and after a title winning season; he went on a three day trial at Sporting who immediately signed him for an undisclosed sum of money.
While at Sporting the Portuguese winger trained at the club’s football factory, the Alcochete; where his skills were nurtured. Though his progression at the club was obstructed by his growth, Cristiano Ronaldo became the only player in the club’s history to represent the Under-16, Under-17, Under-18, B team and first-team all in the same season. He scored two goals on his debut for Sporting against Moreirense and featured in Portugal’s Under 17 team for the UEFA Under 17 Championships. His appearance for Portugal at these championships sparked the interest of Liverpool’s then manager Gérard Houllier at the age of 16 but Houllier refused to sign him because he was deemed too young.
However, in 2003 the winger caught the eye of Manchester United’s Alex Ferguson when Sporting beat Manchester United 3-1 in a match that marked the inauguration of the Alvalade XXI stadium in Lisbon. With the departure of David Beckham, Manchester needed a right winger and he was signed for a fee of £12.24 million, becoming the Manchester United’s first Portuguese player ever. The Portuguese winger made his first appearance for the Red Devils at Old Trafford in a 4-0 win. He scored his first goal for Manchester United in the 2004 FA Cup Final against Millwall FC, the winger also scored Manchester United’s 1000th goal in a 4-1 defeat to Middlesbrough in October 2005. At the end of the season, he had a tally of 10 goals and was voted by fans to be FIFPro Special Young Player of the Year 2005, an award he also won in 2006.
In the summer of 2006, the Portugal winger was at the center of a controversy with fellow Manchester United and England striker Wayne Rooney; when both teams met in the world cup quarter finals. The incident saw Rooney being shown a red card and the resulting elimination of England from the world cup on penalties; the last of which was taken by the winger. Despite the incident both players remained friends and in November 2006, he won the Barclays Player of the Month award again an award he also won in December 2006. He scored his 50th goal for Manchester United which proved to be the decisive goal that gave Manchester United their first Premiership title in four years against rivals Manchester City.
In April 2007, the Portuguese national signed a new five year deal worth £120,000 a week, making him the highest paid player in Manchester United’s history. Among his accolades, the Portuguese footballer won the PFA Players’ Player of the Year, the PFA Young Player of the Year awards, the PFA Fans’ Player of the Year, the Football Writers’ Association Award and 2007 Portuguese Footballer of the Year at the end of his 2006-2007 season at Old Trafford.
Cristiano Ronaldo’s 2007-2008 season for the Barclays Premier League Champions saw him exceeding George Best’s forty year old record for the most goals scored by a midfielder in a season, at 32 goals by scoring 42 goals in all competitions helping Manchester United to back to back Premiership titles and the coveted UEFA Champions League title. Ronaldo who also placed third in the FIFA World Player of the Year awards in 2007 will be looking to place first in the same awards this year as he has proven to be the best player on the planet, with this season’s stellar performances. Cristiano Ronaldo however had a very disappointing Euro 2008 campaign with Portugal, which saw him scoring only one goal for his country that was eliminated by Germany in the quarter finals. He has also been linked to a lucrative transfer deal worth approximately EUR100 million euros to La Liga giants Real Madrid.
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