The Best Football Player in the World
The success that Cristiano enjoys today is truly well worth his effort and performance. Throughout his football career, Cristiano made several records such as being the first player for the England team to win all four PFA and FWA awards. He holds the record for having the most goals scored in a season, most goals scored per minute, and the first European league player that reached forty goals in just a single season.
Cristiano is greatly regarded as one of the two best football players in the world, and it is no surprise why. With his extraordinary pacing, skill, ball handling and unpredictable movements, he is truly a force to be reckoned with in the field. Throughout his footballing career, Cristiano has constantly shown improvements in his style of play, and has always proved to be the award winning player that he is.
Hard Work and Improvement: Ingredients for Success
But aside from his skill and talent in playing football, what truly makes Cristiano extraordinary is his attitude towards success. Cristiano greatly values hard work and diligence, and has always made it a point to improve in everything that he does. He is also never afraid to dream big, which is why he sets goals that most of us could not even think about. For Cristiano, learning and improving are keys to getting to where you want to be.
In an interview, Cristiano says:
“I think that it’s down to talent and the fact I’ve worked incredibly hard to achieve my objectives. You need to be humble enough to know what’s missing from your game and work towards it. Throughout my whole career I’ve always tried to learn, evolve and win trophies. I’m very ambitious, I always want to win and I’ll stay that way until I hang up my boots.”
Throughout his career, Cristiano has faced a lot of criticisms. Negative issues have been brought up against him, but he never lets these things get in his way of achieving success and victory. As someone who is very famous and successful, Cristiano knows well that he is a target of many media-related controversies, but he chooses not to get affected by the things that are not true.
He said in an interview:
“Yes, the pressure is too great and that sometimes it can affect us. But we have to try and rise above it and not let what people say get to us, particularly the media, as Real Madrid get spoken about every day. At the end of the day it comes down to an individual decision, whether you want to read the papers or not. I don’t think what the papers say matters too much, so there’s no need to overdramatize the issue.”
Family is Most Important
Cristiano knows his priorities very well, and this is what makes him amazing – in spite of all the success that the sport of football has given him, his number one priority is always his family, more particularly his son. But Cristiano is not just spoiling his son – he wants his son to experience the normal life, not above, but among the rest. This is what he elaborated on in an interview made with him regarding his family:
“My family comes first—my son is the most important thing in my life. After that, it’s the football that matters most to me. Money comes after that. And although I was raised in poverty, he’s going to be raised very rich. But I am not posh, so my son is not going to be posh. I don’t want him to go to a posh school. I want him to mix with normal people.”
Cristiano’s Humble Beginnings
Cristiano Ronaldo’s amazing career had humble beginnings. He was born as the youngest child of Jose Dinis and Maria Dolores dos Santos Aveiro on February 5, 1985 in the town of Funchal, Madeira. His father Jose worked as a municipal gardener, while his mother Maria worked as a cook in their own food stand. His given name “Ronaldo” was inspired by the then-United States President Ronald Reagan, who happened to be Jose’s favourite actor. His siblings were Hugo, Elma and Liliana Catia.
Maria and her family were poor (and the drinking habits of her husband Jose added to the problem), but it did not prevent them from being happy as a family. Having Catholic roots, she taught her children the values and principles of living a Christian life, and instilled in them a love for God and for people. As such, even though Cristiano was devoid of many material things that a child should enjoy, such as toys and having his own room, he nevertheless enjoyed his life no matter how poor it was.
Having grown up in a working class neighbourhood, Cristiano loved playing with his friends outside, and was an outgoing person. When he first stepped into the halls of his school, Cristiano did not find it interesting, although he immediately built fame around himself with a lot of people not only in his class but also in the school.
Introduction to Football
In order to feed the family and take care of the bills, Jose had to work other jobs aside from gardening. One of these jobs was being an equipment manager at a local boy’s club, where Cristiano would first be introduced to the sport of soccer at eight years old. This would soon be take much of Cristiano’s attention and interest, and not long after he joined a local amateur football team, Andorinha.
Cristiano’s life and passion began revolving around soccer, and he gradually built a reputation for being among the best football players in his age—practically ‘eating, sleeping and drinking’ the game, as some of his folks would put it. At ten years old, Cristiano joined the local football club Nacional and helped lead the team into a title-winning campaign. His incredible performance caught the attention of the guys from Sporting Clube de Portugal, who signed him on to their junior team, making Cristiano one of the youngest players of the sport.
As he grew older, Cristiano came to recognize how he wanted to play professionally rather than study in school. This became a reality when he was fourteen years old, when he left his school after his mother Maria decided that he should focus entirely on football after an incident wherein he threw a chair at a teacher for mocking his Madeiran accent. And so, Cristiano left school and entirely focused his time and effort in improving himself in playing football.
Playing Amateur: Cristiano in Sporting Clube de Portugal
Cristiano’s focus in football made him so good at playing the sport, that he became the first and only player to play for Sporting CP’s under-16, under-17, under-18, first team, and the B-team within a single season, making him a prodigy among his fellow football trainees at the Academia Sporting. In his league debut in 2002, Cristiano led his team to a 3-0 win against Moreirense in the Under-17 Championship.
Prior to making his big league debut, Cristiano, at age fifteen, was diagnosed with a racing heart, a condition wherein the heart rate exceeds the normal range. Having this condition would have permanently ended his dream of playing football professionally, but Cristiano never gave up, hoping that he would find a way to pursue his passion. Fortunately though, the condition could be treated, and with his mother’s permission, Cristiano underwent laser surgery to remove the area of his heart that was the cause of the problem. After resting for a few days following his release from the hospital, Cristiano went back to practice.
Going Professional: The First Portuguese Player in Manchester United
Having the problem out of the way, Cristiano was now able to fully improve his skills in football, making him among the best of the amateur players in the sport. His talent and skill grew so much so that by the end of 2002, he was noticed by Alex Ferguson, the manager of Manchester United, who signed Cristiano under their team and became the very first Portuguese player in Manchester United.
Upon joining Manchester United, Cristiano requested that he keep his player number “28” (which was his number when he was playing with Sporting CP) because he did not want to be pressured in living up to the expectations of playing as number “7” (previously held by very famous players like David Beckham and Eric Cantona), the number that Manchester United wanted to give him. Cristiano eventually agreed to play as number “7,” viewing it as a motivation to become the best that he can be as a player.
Cristiano did not disappoint, and during his years with Manchester United he proved himself to be among their best players. This included a 4-0 victory against the Bolton Wanderers, a 3-0 win against Portsmouth, and an FA Cup winning 3-0 against Millwall. In 2005, Cristiano was named as the FIFPro Special Young Player of the Year for scoring ten goals in all competitions. During this year’s season, he became significant in Manchester United’s victory against Wigan Athletic, resulting in the team winning the Football League Cup.
A String of Success with ManU
From 2006 onwards, Cristiano continued his streak of successes with breaking the 20 goal barrier for the very first time, as well as winning his first league title with Manchester United. His natural talent and skill for football, along with the one-to-one training given to him by Rene Meulensteen, Cristiano became a superior football player, his unpredictable moves contributing greatly to the success of his team.
Because of his amazing performances in the field, which brought a lot of championships for Manchester United, Cristiano received numerous awards, including several PFA Player of the Year and Young Player of the Year Awards, as well as a Barclays Player of the Month, being only the third player to receive such prestigious honor. In the 2006-2007 season, Cristiano made such spectacular plays that he became the very first player to win FWA and PFA awards all in the same season.
Aside from playing in the European leagues, Cristiano also had the opportunity to play in the World Cup, where he became the second highest scorer in the qualifications for the European zone. A particular incident involving the removal of his Manchester United teammate Wayne Rooney became quite controversial, due to the alleged influence that Cristiano had on the referee. This issue caused the English fans of Cristiano to create a negative e-mail campaign against him, resulting in him not being qualified to win the Best Young Player Award.
Cristiano’s 2007-2008 season began with him receiving a red card after he delivered a head butt to Richard Hughes, a player from Portsmouth, during the match between the two teams. This taught him a valuable lesson to not let other players provoke him, as the field often gets ugly especially when two well-known teams are matched against each other. This initial disappointment though, did not prevent Cristiano from making a good season performance, landing in the third spot for the FIFA World Player of the Year, just behind Kaka and Lionel Messi.
During the UEFA Euro 2008, Cristiano made eight goals and was named Man of the Match in the event against the Czech Republic. Although Portugal was eliminated in the quarterfinals, Cristiano’s performances in the field were still amazing enough for him to be named the team captain.
In 2009, Cristiano was named as the FIFA World Player of the Year, four days after he was involved in a car accident; fortunately enough, he did not suffer any kind of injuries. For the rest of his time with Manchester United this year, Cristiano made performed amazingly in many of the events, and prior to moving to Real Madrid, became the very first player to win the FIFA Puskas Award, a prestigious honor to recognize the best goal of the year.
Moving On: Signing with Real Madrid
In June of the same year, Cristiano moved from Manchester United to Real Madrid after a series of negotiations. Signed in for a fee of eighty million pounds, Cristiano became the most expensive footballer in history. He donned the number “9” jersey, which was presented to him by Alfredo Di Stefano, one of the team’s legends.
Cristiano wasted no time in showing that he was worth his pay soon after he was signed in by Real Madrid, by leading the team to victory against the Shamrock Rovers, then later on against LDU Quito. And even though he suffered an ankle injury that kept him for over a month from playing, Cristiano still made very good performances throughout the season, so much so that by the end of 2009, he landed the second spot for the FIFA World Player of the Year Award and the Ballon d’Or Award.
In the 2010-2011 season, Cristiano showed further progress and improvement with his performances, beginning with eleven goals in the first month of the season. In early 2011, Cristiano led his team through several victories against equally amazing teams such as Getafe CF, Villarreal CF, and Malaga CF. Sometime during these events, Cristiano suffered a muscle injury which resulted in him having to rest and sit at the sidelines for ten days. Despite this, Cristiano made a very impressive year-end track record, winning the Copa del Rey Final and landing second place in the 2010-11 La Liga.
Throughout the 2011-2012 season, Cristiano continued to strengthen his reputation as one of the best footballers in the sport, gaining numerous goals and helping his team land numerous wins in various championship events. By the end of the season, Cristiano had scored over one hundred goals in La Liga, making him the second quickest La Liga player to ever reach that milestone. The following season, the 2012-2013 season, Cristiano became the highest scorer for Real Madrid after winning the event against Granada, with a score of 3-0.
Cristiano did have a poor starting performance during the Euro 2012, where he was criticized to be under performing due to the defeat that the team suffered against Germany. In spite of this, Cristiano never allowed the criticisms to dampen his resolve and by the final group match against the Netherlands, Cristiano did not disappoint and led his team to a 2-1 victory. And even though the team lost the semi-final rounds against Spain, Cristiano’s style of play was still applauded by numerous fans and critics alike.
Personal Life and Philanthropy
Cristiano’s life extends far beyond his successes in football—he is also a philanthropist, and has spent his time and efforts in reaching out to those who are in need. Aside from being a Global Artist Ambassador for Save the Children, Cristiano has also supported numerous causes and has accepted offers to play in charity events wherein the proceeds would be given to various charitable foundations.
In 2009, Cristiano donated around one hundred thousand pounds to the hospital in Madeira that helped save his mother’s life when she was battling against cancer so that they could establish their own cancer center. The following year, Cristiano played in a charity match to support the victims of the Madeira flood.
Today, Cristiano continues to be at his best in everything that he does—as a world-renowned football player and as a father to his child. Looking at the life of Cristiano, we can learn a lot of things such as the attitude of never giving up, always moving forward, and never letting negative circumstances keep us from our goals. His story is a wonderful example of how someone ordinary can rise up and become the extraordinary person that can touch the world.
“Being a footballer has good things and other aspects that aren’t so good. You miss out on doing normal things and on certain situations that you’d experience if you weren’t well-known. But this is the profession I chose and all that’s part of the package. I don’t regret my choice in the slightest.”
Organizations and Programmes Supported
- Save the Children
- The Mangrove Care Forum
- Aid Still Required
Awards and Achievements
- 2004: Received the Bravo Award
- 2004: Named as the FIFPro Special Young Player of the Year
- 2004: Named the UEFA Euro Team of the Tournament
- 2005: Named as the FIFPro Special Young Player of the Year
- 2005: Named as the Portuguese Footballer of the Year
- 2006: Named as the PFA Young Player of the Year
- 2006: Named as the Sir Matt Busby Player of the Year
- 2006: Named as the PFA Fans' Player of the Year
- 2006: Named as the FWA Footballer of the Year
- 2006: Named as the Barclays Player of the Year
- 2006: Named as the Portuguese Footballer of the Year
- 2007: Named as the Sir Matt Busby Player of the Year
- 2007: Named as the PFA Fans' Player of the Year
- 2007: Named as the FWA Footballer of the Year
- 2007: Named as the Barclays Player of the Year
- 2007: Awarded the Premier League Golden Boot
- 2007: Named as the UEFA Champions League Topscorer
- 2007: Received the Barclays Merit Award
- 2007: Named as the UEFA Club Forward of the Year
- 2007: Named as the UEFA Club Footballer of the Year
- 2007: Won the European Golden Shoe
- 2007: Named as the CNID Best Portuguese Athlete Abroad
- 2007: Named as the Portuguese Footballer of the Year
- 2008: Won the FIFA Club World Cup Silver Ball
- 2008: Named the UEFA Euro Man of the Match
- 2008: Named as the CNID Best Portuguese Athlete Abroad
- 2008: Named as the FIFA World Player of the Year
- 2008: Named as the World Soccer Player of the Year
- 2008: Named Player of the Year by Goal.com
- 2008: Named as the Portuguese Footballer of the Year
- 2009: Received the FIFA Puskás Award
- 2009: Named as the CNID Best Portuguese Athlete Abroad
- 2009: Named as the Portuguese Footballer of the Year
- 2010: Won the European Golden Shoe
- 2010: Named as the Portuguese Footballer of the Year
- 2010: Named as the La Liga Top Scorer
- 2011: Named as the CNID Best Portuguese Athlete Abroad
- 2011: Named as the Portuguese Footballer of the Year
- 2011: Won the Trofeo Alfredo Di Stéfano
- 2011: Won the Ibero-American Community Trophy
- 2012: Named the UEFA Euro Team of the Tournament
- 2012: Named as the UEFA Champions League Topscorer
- 2012: Named Player of the Year by Goal.com
- 2012: Named as the Portuguese Footballer of the Year
- 2012: Named as the UEFA Euro Top Scorer
- Holds the record for the most expensive footballer
Wikipedia (Cristiano Ronaldo)
Biography (Cristiano Ronaldo biography)
Mirror Football (Exclusive interview - The real Cristiano Ronaldo: What matters to me? Family, football and money!)
Soccer Bible (Cristiano Ronaldo Interview)
FIFA.com (Ronaldo: Criticism is part of life)