Cristiano Ronaldo

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Cristiano Ronaldo
Cristiano Ronaldo - Croatia vs. Portugal, 10th June 2013.jpg
Cristiano Ronaldo playing for Portugal in 2013
Personal information
Full name Cristiano Ronaldo dos Santos Aveiro
Date of birth (1985-02-05) 5 February 1985 (age 29)
Place of birth Funchal, Madeira, Portugal
Height 1.85 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 162 (174)
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 110 (49)
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only and correct as of 22:55, 29 March 2014 (UTC).

† Appearances (Goals).

‡ National team caps and goals correct as of 5 March 2014 (UTC)

Cristiano Ronaldo dos Santos Aveiro,[2] OIH (born 5 February 1985),[3] known as Cristiano Ronaldo, is a Portuguese footballer who plays as a forward for Spanish club Real Madrid and captains the Portugal national team. He became the most expensive footballer in history when he moved from Manchester United to Real Madrid in 2009 in a transfer worth £80 million (€94 million/$131.6 million). Ronaldo's contract with Real Madrid, under the terms of which he is paid €21 million per year (after taxes), makes him the highest-paid footballer in the world,[4] and his buyout clause is valued at €1 billion as per his contract.[5]

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. In 2004, Ronaldo won his first club honour, the FA Cup.

Ronaldo was the first player playing in England to win all four main PFA and FWA awards, doing so in 2007. In 2008 and 2013, Ronaldo won the FIFA/Ballon d'Or award for the best footballer on the planet, being the first ever Portuguese to win the award twice.[6][7] 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 FIFA World Player of the Year, FIFPro Player of the Year, World Soccer Player of the Year, and the Onze d'Or.[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 for the Goal of the Year in 2009.

Ronaldo is the first top European league player to reach 40 goals in a single season in two consecutive years, fastest Real Madrid player to reach one hundred league goals, and the first player ever to score against every team in a single season in La Liga.[11] He also holds the record for most goals scored in a season for Real Madrid. In January 2014, Ronaldo scored his 400th career goal.[12] After spending his first year at Madrid wearing the number 9 shirt, he began wearing the number 7 again following the departure of long-serving striker Raúl. Ronaldo had previously worn the number 7 shirt at Manchester United.

Ronaldo is a Portuguese international and made his debut in August 2003. He has been capped over 100 times and is his country's top goalscorer of all time. With Portugal he has participated in five major tournaments; UEFA Euro 2004, the 2006 FIFA World Cup, UEFA Euro 2008, the 2010 FIFA World Cup and UEFA Euro 2012. He scored his first international goal in the opening game of Euro 2004 against Greece, in addition to helping Portugal reach the final. He took over the captaincy of the side in July 2008 and went on to captain Portugal to the semi-finals at Euro 2012 and finished the competition as the joint-top scorer.

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.[13] 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.[14]

The family was staunchly Catholic and Ronaldo later claimed that he lived in poverty, sharing a room with his brother and sisters.[15] Ronaldo was popular with other students at school, but he was expelled after he threw a chair at his teacher. Ronaldo later said of the incident: "He disrespected me."[16] At the age of 14, Ronaldo agreed with his mother to then focus entirely on football.[16]

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.[17]

Sporting CP

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.[18] 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.[19]

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.[20] 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.[21]

In November 2002, Ronaldo was invited to Arsenal's training ground, London Colney to meet manager Arsène Wenger and his coaching staff.[22] 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 and Joan Laporta, then Barcelona's president) in the subsequent months to discuss a transfer arrangement.[23][24] 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.[25]

On April 2013, Ronaldo was honoured by Sporting as the club announced that the player had become their 100,000th member.[26]

Manchester United


Ronaldo playing against Chelsea in April 2006.

Ronaldo became Manchester United's first-ever Portuguese player when he signed for €15 million[27] (£12.24 million) after the 2002–03 season.[28] 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 Johnny Berry, George Best, Steve Coppell, Bryan Robson, Eric Cantona and David Beckham, and subsequently worn by Michael Owen and Antonio Valencia. "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."[29]

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.[30]

He scored United's 1000th Premier League goal on 29 October 2005 in a 4–1 loss to Middlesbrough.[31] 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.[32] 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.[33]


Ronaldo with United during their 2006–07 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. An important factor in this success was his one-to-one training by first team coach René Meulensteen. Meulensteen coached him in moves to make himself more unpredictable. He also helped him to work better with his team-mates, calling for the ball and scoring more 'ugly' goals instead of waiting for the special occasion when he could score the 'beautiful' goals for which he was already famous.[34]

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.[35][36] 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,[37] 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.[38][39]

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.[40] In April, he completed the treble by winning the PFA Fans' Player of the Year. He also won 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 Tevez 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.[41] Ronaldo said he had "learned a lot" from the experience and would not let players "provoke" him in the future.[42] 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.[43]

He finished as the runner-up to Kaká for the 2007 Ballon d'Or,[44] and was third in the running for the FIFA World Player of the Year award, behind Kaká and Lionel Messi.[45]

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.[46] 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.[47] 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.[48] One month later, Lyon were fined CHF5,000 (£2,427) for the incident.[49]

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.[50] 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.[51] 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.[52]

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

— Three-time Ballon d'Or winner Johan Cruyff on the 23-year-old Ronaldo, April 2008.[53]

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,[54] 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.[55] 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.[56][57] Speculation that a transfer would happen continued until 6 August, when Ronaldo confirmed that he would stay at United for at least another year.[58]

Ronaldo underwent ankle surgery at the Academic Medical Center in Amsterdam on 7 July.[59] 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,[60] 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.[61] The goals also meant that Ronaldo had now scored against each of the other 19 teams in the Premier League at the time.[62] 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.[63] He was awarded the Silver Ball after finishing with two goals as United won the Club World Cup on 19 December.[64]

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.[65] 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.[66]

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.[67] 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.[68] He later called it the best goal he had ever scored.[69][70] 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.[71] It was confirmed by a representative of the Glazer family that the sale was fully condoned by Ferguson.[72] 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."[73]

Real Madrid

2009–10 season

I have nothing but praise for the boy. He is easily the best player in the world. 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, after Ronaldo's transfer to Real Madrid.[74]

On 26 June 2009, Real Madrid confirmed that Ronaldo would join the club on 1 July 2009 from Manchester United for £80 million (€94 million) becoming the most expensive footballer in history,[75] after agreeing terms and signing a six-year contract.[76] Ronaldo's contract is worth €11 million per year[77] and it has a €1 billion buy-out clause.[78] He was presented to the world media as a Real Madrid player on 6 July,[79] where he was handed the number 9 jersey.[80] The shirt was presented to him by Madrid legend Alfredo Di Stéfano.[81] Ronaldo was welcomed by between 80,000 and 85,000 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.[82][83] The event was broadcast live on the Spanish and Portuguese public TV stations, RTVE and RTP respectively.[84][85]

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

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.[86] 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.[87] On 15 September, Ronaldo scored two free-kicks in a 5–2 away victory over Zürich, his first Champions League goals for Real.[88] 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.[89]

An ankle injury suffered on 10 October, while Ronaldo was on international duty with Portugal against Hungary, kept him out until 25 November, which in turn caused him to miss both of Madrid's Champions League group stage matches against Milan.[citation needed] 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 during Real'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.[90]

Ronaldo 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.[91]

2010–11 season

With the departure of Raúl during the summer of 2010, Ronaldo was handed the number 7 jersey for Real Madrid.[92] On 23 October 2010, Ronaldo scored four goals against Racing de Santander,[93] the most goals he has ever scored in a single match.[94] 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.[95] 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.[96]

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

Ronaldo began 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.[97][98] Ronaldo began his scoring spree by scoring two vital goals in a tight 3–2 victory away to Getafe.[99] 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. On 3 March 2011, Ronaldo scored a hat-trick in a 7–0 trashing of Málaga, but was affected by a muscle injury at the end of the match, which forced him to spend 10 days on the sidelines.

Ronaldo against Tottenham's (and future team-mate) Gareth Bale in the UEFA Champions League.

In April, he made another massive comeback from injury, sustaining a three-game scoring streak (including two 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.[100] 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[101] and Real Madrid's website.[102] 7 May saw Real travel to the Ramón Sánchez Pizjuán to take on Sevilla, where Ronaldo led the thrashing of the 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.[103] 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 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, which 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.[104] 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,[105] rating him as one of the world's best footballers.

Ronaldo ended his second season at Real Madrid by winning his first club honour with the club, the 2011 Copa del Rey, notching a total of 53 goals (not granting him the controversial goal from Pepe) in all competitions, having scored 25 goals with his right foot (excluding free-kicks and penalty-kicks) and 9 with his left foot.[106]

2011–12 season

Real Madrid's pre-season began with a 4–1 victory over MLS team Los Angeles Galaxy,[107] with goals from José Callejón, Joselu, Ronaldo and Karim Benzema.[108] 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] 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.

Ronaldo against Ajax during their group stage match in the UEFA Champions League on 27 September 2011.

On 27 September, Ronaldo scored Real's opening goal in a 3–0 victory over Ajax at the Santiago Bernabéu in the UEFA 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.[109]

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. 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 seasons 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.[110] As of 24 March 2012, Ronaldo had averaged 1.01 goals per game in La Liga.

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 25 April, in the second leg of the semi-finals in the 2011–12 UEFA Champions League against Bayern Munich, Ronaldo converted a penalty from a David Alaba handball and scored a second goal from a pass from Mesut Özil. Extra time ended with the tie level at 3–3, and Real Madrid were eliminated in the shootout with Ronaldo's kick being saved by Manuel Neuer.[111]

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 ended his third season at Real Madrid by winning his first league title with the club, with a record 100 points, notching a total of 46 league goals and 60 goals in all competitions, breaking the Real Madrid record he had set the previous season. At the end of the season, Ronaldo claimed that he believed that he had played better than Lionel Messi in the 2011–12 season,[112] and he went on to win the Trofeo Alfredo Di Stefano as the La Liga player of the season.

2012–13 season

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

Ronaldo started the season by lifting the Supercopa de España with Real Madrid, scoring two goals in a 4–4 away goals aggregate win against Barcelona. The goal in the first leg made him the first Madrid player in the history of El Clásico to score for the fourth game in a row at the Camp Nou,[113] with the winning goal in the second leg, Ronaldo equalled the Real Madrid record of Iván Zamorano of scoring in five consecutive El Clásico matches.[114] AS reported that Manchester City president Sheikh Mansour had made a bid of €200 million for Ronaldo in the summer, but Real Madrid turned the bid down.[115] On 30 August, Ronaldo was second (tied with Lionel Messi) in the 2011–12 UEFA Best Player in Europe Award with 17 votes, behind winner Iniesta.[116]

On 2 September 2012, Ronaldo scored his first league goal of the season in a 3–0 win over Granada, which was also his 200th career goal in league matches played in England, Spain and Portugal. He added another goal, which was his 150th goal for Real Madrid in all competitions in 149 matches played. This goal made him the 10th highest scorer for Real Madrid in all competitions. Ronaldo was substituted at the 63rd minute by team mate Higuaín, due to a minor thigh injury.[117] Afterwards, Ronaldo claimed that he was unhappy with a "professional issue" after he refused to celebrate his 149th and 150th goals for the club.[118] Ronaldo's agent, Jorge Mendes, insisted that he always knew that Ronaldo was unhappy with life at Real Madrid.[119] Ronaldo dismissed the notion that his post-match declaration of "sadness" was related to a desire for a new and improved contract at the club.[120] Real Madrid president, Florentino Pérez, claimed that he did not want to leave the club and that he was unhappy for other reasons.[121] When Ronaldo returned to Real Madrid, after international duty, he stated he was focused on achieving further success with the club.[122] Real Madrid coach José Mourinho believed that UEFA's decision to elect Iniesta as the best player in Europe in 2011–12 could have been one of the reasons behind Ronaldo's unhappiness.[123][124]

On 18 September, Ronaldo scored his first Champions League goal of the season in a 3–2 victory over Manchester City.[125] On 30 September, Ronaldo scored a hat-trick (including two penalties), his first La Liga hat-trick of the season in a 5–1 win over Deportivo de La Coruña.[126] On 4 October, Ronaldo scored his first career hat-trick in the Champions League as he led Real Madrid to a 4–1 victory over Ajax.[127] Continuing his fine form, he hit a brace the following week against Barcelona in a 2–2 draw at Camp Nou, which made him the first and only player to score in six consecutive El Clásico's.[128]

If Messi is the best on the planet, Ronaldo is the best in the universe. If you are going to give out the Ballon d'Or because a player is the best, give it to Cristiano or Messi. But I ask: if the two are on the same level, is it normal that one wins four and the other one? It is not.

José Mourinho, when asked about the 2012 Ballon d'Or.[129]

On 11 November, in a 2–1 away win over Levante, Ronaldo received an elbow to the eye in the second minute in the match, but scored his twelfth La Liga goal to give Madrid the lead, before being substituted at half-time.[130][131] This eventually led to him missing the Portugal squad for the friendly game against Gabon.[132] On 21 November, he appeared in Madrid's 1–1 Champions League group stage draw with Manchester City at the Etihad Stadium. The match represented the first time that Ronaldo played in Manchester since leaving City's rival, Manchester United, for Madrid in 2009.[133] On 1 December, after not scoring in his previous three games, Ronaldo scored a goal from a free-kick and assisted Özil to score the second goal in a 2–0 victory over Atlético Madrid.[134]

On 6 January, following the 2012–13 winter break, Ronaldo scored a brace to lift 10-man Real Madrid to a 4–3 victory over Real Sociedad.[135] The match represented the first time that Ronaldo captained Real Madrid in an official match,[136][137] but received his fifth yellow card of the season and was suspended for the team's next league game at Osasuna serving a one-game ban. This was the first time Ronaldo was suspended for an accumulation of yellow cards, having only previously missed games when being given a straight red card.[138] On 7 January, he was second in the 2012 FIFA Ballon d'Or, for the fourth time behind Lionel Messi.[139] On 9 January, Ronaldo scored a hat-trick against Celta Vigo in the second leg of a Copa del Rey game.[140] Following a first leg victory over Valencia in the Copa del Rey on 15 January, Ronaldo got into an argument with manager José Mourinho.[141][142] On 27 January, Ronaldo scored a perfect hat-trick against Getafe in a 4–0 win, including his 300th club goal.[143] On 30 January, against Barcelona in the Copa del Rey, Ronaldo made his 500th club appearances. He was the first not Spanish to captain Real Madrid in a Clásico in the last 60 years.[144]

Ronaldo faced his former club Manchester United for the first time on 13 February in the Champions League Round of 16 and scored the equaliser in a 1–1 draw at the Santiago Bernabéu.[145] On 21 February, Ronaldo scored another hat-trick against Sevilla, his 21st hat-trick of his career and his 17th in La Liga.[146] On 26 February, Ronaldo scored twice against Barcelona in the second leg of the Copa del Rey semi-finals, making this the sixth consecutive trip to the Camp Nou in which he had scored.[147] Ronaldo then scored the winning goal in a 2–1 victory against Manchester United on 5 March, which was his return to Old Trafford for the first time since his world-record £80 million move to Real Madrid in 2009.[148] Thereafter, Ronaldo stated he was "sad" and had a "strange feeling" after his goal knocked Manchester United out of the Champions League.[149][150]

On 10 March, Ronaldo struck twice against Celta Vigo to send Real Madrid above city rivals Atlético into second place in La Liga.[151] The second goal, his 138 goal in La Liga, earned him a place in the top 25 goalscorers in the history of La Liga in just 127 games, recording an average of 1.08 goals per game, the highest of all the top 25 goalscorers.[152] On 16 March, Ronaldo scored the equaliser in a 5–2 victory against Mallorca, which was his 350 goal in his career.[152][153] On 3 April, Ronaldo scored the opening goal against Galatasaray in the first leg of the Champions League quarter-finals.[154] On 9 April, Ronaldo scored twice in the second leg against Galatasaray to send Real Madrid to the semi-finals in the Champions League, winning 5–3 on aggregate.[155]

Ronaldo picked up an a thigh muscle injury while warming up for the UEFA Champions League semi-final first leg on 24 April, where he scored an away goal in a 4–1 loss against Borussia Dortmund.[156] He was absent from Real Madrid's next game against Atlético Madrid, but returned to action on 30 April for the 2–0 second leg victory against Dortmund (a 4–3 aggregate loss).[157] On 4 May, Ronaldo scored two headers against Real Valladolid in a 4–3 home win.[158] The British media reported that Manchester United chief executive David Gill was in Madrid to talk with Ronaldo's agent about a return to Old Trafford,[159] but other media outlets reported that United would struggle to re-sign him after the announcement of Alex Ferguson's retirement as manager of Manchester United.[160][161]

Ronaldo scored his 200th goal for Real Madrid on 8 May in a 6–2 win against Málaga. This figure made him sixth in the list of the club's all-time top scorers and the player that took fewest matches (197) to reach 200 goals.[162] On 17 May, Ronaldo headed the opening goal from a Mesut Özil corner in the 14th minute against Atletico Madrid in the eventual 2–1 Copa del Rey final loss, which was also his 111 goal (201 overall) in his 100th home appearance.[163] He was shown a straight red card in the 114th minute of extra time of the final for an altercation with Gabi.[164] He was charged for the accumulation of yellow cards and violent conduct by the RFEF, banned for the two games in the last 16 of the 2013–14 Copa del Rey.[165]

Ronaldo ended his fourth season at Real Madrid as the Champions League top goalscorer for a second time in his career, with 12 goals. In the league, Real Madrid failed to defend their La Liga title, finishing runners up to arch-rivals Barcelona, and were eliminated in the semi-finals in the UEFA Champions League for the third consecutive year. Accounting for all competitions, Ronaldo ended the season with a total of 55 goals, having scored 30 goals with his right foot, 17 with his left foot and 8 with his head.[166]

2013–14 season

Ronaldo against Galatasaray during their group stage match in the UEFA Champions League on 17 September 2013.

Real Madrid's failure to win major silverware last season and reports of division in the dressing room had prompted speculation that Ronaldo, whose contract runs until June 2015, might be seeking a move away from the Spanish capital.[167][168][169] On 8 June 2013, Ronaldo moved to quell the speculation over his future by insisting that he would reach a deal to renew his contract with Real Madrid.[170] On 3 July 2013, Ronaldo admitted that he was missing the English Premier League, but ruled out an imminent move back to Old Trafford.[171]

On 18 August 2013, Ronaldo made his 200th competitive appearance for Real Madrid in a 2–1 home win over Real Betis.[172] Ronaldo had not scored during the first two league games, but against Athletic Bilbao on 1 September 2013, he scored his first of the season in a 3–1 home victory.[173]

On 15 September 2013, after much speculation,[174] Ronaldo signed a new contract with Real Madrid that will keep him at the club until 2018,[175] with a salary of €21 million (after taxes), which makes him the highest paid player in football.[176] On 17 September 2013, Ronaldo scored the second Champions League hat-trick of his career in Real Madrid's opening group match of the 2013–14 UEFA Champions League, a 6–1 away win against Galatasaray.[177] On 22 September 2013, Ronaldo scored a brace in a 4–1 home victory against Getafe CF, including his 209th goal in his 205th game, to become the fifth highest scorer in the club's history.[178]

In his 100th game in the European competitions against Copenhagen on 2 October 2013, Ronaldo scored a brace as Real Madrid went on to a 4–0 home victory.[179] On 5 October 2013, Ronaldo scored a late winning goal against Levante, which made him the first player in the big five European leagues to score 50 goals in 2013.[180] On 23 October 2013, Ronaldo scored twice in a 2–1 home victory against Juventus to become the Champions League's third all-time highest goalscorer with 57 goals.[181][182] On 30 October 2013, Ronaldo scored his 18th La Liga hat-trick in a 7–3 home win against Sevilla.[183]

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.[184][185]

In his 106 away appearances for Real Madrid on 2 November 2013, Ronaldo scored his 100th away goal as he hit a brace in a 3–2 away victory against Rayo Vallecano, averaging 0.94 per game.[186] On 5 November 2013, Ronaldo broke the record held for Champions League goals scored in a calendar year with 14 goals, after he equalised for Real Madrid in a 2–2 draw at Juventus.[187] On 9 November 2013, Ronaldo scored his 19th La Liga hat-trick (one from open play, a penalty and a direct free-kick) in a 5–1 home victory against Real Sociedad, which made him second in the all time League hat-trick list. The direct free-kick was his 20th direct free-kick goal for Real Madrid, one more than free-kick specialist Ronaldinho scored with Barcelona.[188]

After his strong form in the 2013–14 campaign by which he had scored 32 goals from 22 matches played for both club and country by the middle of November 2013, including five hat-tricks, Ronaldo suggested that he could be in the "best form of his life".[189] On 23 November 2013, Ronaldo was replaced by Jesé in the 52nd minute against Almería after suffering a muscle strain, which would keep him out for one to two weeks.[190][191] Ronaldo made his return for Real Madrid in a 2–0 away victory against Copenhagen in the Champions League on 10 December 2013, and went on to break the record for most goals scored in the Champions League group stages with 9 goals.[192] His final match of the calendar year saw him score a header in a 3–2 away win against Valencia, ending the year with a tally of 69 goals in 59 appearance, his highest year-end goal tally.[193][194] With the goal, he became the club's fourth top scorer in the league with 164 league goals, equalling the tally gained by Hugo Sánchez. He also become the second top scorer in matches played away from home with 72 goals, 15 behind the record holder Raúl with 87.[195]

In Real Madrid's first match following the 2013–14 winter break, Ronaldo score a brace in a 3–0 home victory against Celta Vigo, including his 400th career goal in 653 games for club and country. He dedicated his two goals to Eusébio, who had died two days before.[12] With the brace, he also reached 230 goals in just 221 appearances for Real Madrid in all competitions.[196]

Ronaldo is a unique player for all of his talent and his professionalism. He is a player who is extraordinarily consistent.

Carlo Ancelotti.[197]

On 13 January 2014, Ronaldo won the 2013 FIFA Ballon d'Or, beating Lionel Messi, who had won the prize the previous four years, and Franck Ribéry.[198] This was his second Ballon d'Or overall and his first since winning the prize in 2008, thereby became the 10th multiple winner of the football's top individual prize.[199] He also became the sixth player in history to collect the accolade despite not winning a major trophy in the calendar year,[200] and the third player to win the award after playing at least a full calendar year at Real Madrid.[201] Ronaldo had been runner-up on another four occasions: 2007, 2009, 2011 and 2012.[202] A tearful Ronaldo described receiving the accolade as "no words to describe this moment" and "it's hard to win this award".[203] The achievement fuelled media to recognise Ronaldo as one of the greatest players in football history,[204][205][206][207] with Brazil great Pelé stating that Ronaldo must continue to maintain his exceptional high standards.[208]

On 18 January 2014, Ronaldo netted a long-range finish from 26 meters that nestled to the top right corner in a 5–0 away win over Real Betis, clocked at a speed of 132 km/h.[209][210] In Madrid's next league, Ronaldo scored the opening goal in a 2–0 home win over Granada.[211] On 11 February 2014, in the Spanish Cup's semifinals second leg, Ronaldo scored a brace in a 2–0 away win against Atlético Madrid to surpass Luis Aragonés as the top scorer in the history of 'Copa' games between Real and Atlético with 5 goals.[212] His seventh minute penalty meant Ronaldo had scored in every single minute of a 90 minute football match.[213] With a brace against Schalke 04 in a 6-1 victory on 26 February 2014, Ronaldo become the first player to score 10 or more goals in 3 consecutive Champions League campaigns.[214]

On 15 March 2014, after he scored the only goal of the match against Málaga, Ronaldo become the first player to score 25 goals in five consecutive league seasons.[215] On 18 March 2014, Ronaldo scored two goals against Schalke 04 in the second leg of the Champions League's round-of–16, allowing him to surpass his personal record of 12 goals in a single UEFA Champions League season, putting him just one behind Lionel Messi's record of 14 goals from the 2011–12 season.[216] On 29 March 2014, with a goal against Rayo Vallecano, Ronaldo equalled Lionel Messi's record of scoring in 10 consecutive games.[217] In his 100th Champions League match against Borussia Dortmund on 2 April 2014,[218] Ronaldo scored his record-equalling 14th Champions League goal of the season in a 3–0 home victory, which also tied him with Alfredo Di Stéfano as Real Madrid's joint second top scorer in European competition with 49 goals, behind only Raúl with 66 goals.[219] With the goal, Ronaldo also become the first player to score in 8 consecutive Champions League matches.[220] Ronaldo was substituted with 10 minutes to play due to a thigh injury, and missed four (so far) matches, including Real Madrid's Copa del Rey final against Barcelona at Mestalla Stadium.[221]

International career

Ronaldo playing against Brazil in February 2007.

Ronaldo earned his first cap for Portugal in a 1–0 victory against Kazakhstan on 20 August 2003.[222]

Euro 2004 and 2004 Summer Olympics

Ronaldo was called up for Euro 2004,[223] scoring his first international goal in a 2–1 group stage loss to eventual champions Greece[224] and scoring again in a 2–1 semi-final win over the Netherlands.[225] He was featured in the UEFA Euro All-Star Team of this competition, providing two assists,[226] despite finishing with only two goals.[227]

Ronaldo also represented Portugal at the 2004 Summer Olympics, scoring a goal in the tournament, although the Portuguese Olympic football squad was eliminated in the first round, finishing bottom of their group with three points.[228][229]

2006 World Cup

Ronaldo was the second-highest scorer in the 2006 FIFA World Cup qualification in the European zone with seven goals,[227] and scored his first World Cup goal against Iran (2-0) with a penalty kick in Portugal's second match in the group stage.[230]

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.[231] 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.[232]

The angry reaction from the English press caused Ronaldo to consider leaving United,[233] and he allegedly told Spanish sports daily Marca that he wished to move to Real Madrid.[234] 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.[235][236] Ronaldo stayed, and signed his new five-year extension in April 2007.[237]

Ronaldo was booed during Portugal's semi-final defeat to France (0-1),[238] and missed out on the competition's Best Young Player award due to a negative e-mail campaign from England fans.[239] 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.[240]

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.[241] 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."[242]

Euro 2008 and 2010 World Cup

Ronaldo was made full-time captain of Portugal after the UEFA Euro 2008.

Ronaldo scored eight goals in Portugal's UEFA Euro 2008 qualifying campaign,[243] behind Poland's Ebi Smolarek, but finished with only one goal in the tournament. When Portugal's squad for the tournament was announced, Ronaldo was given the number 7 shirt for the first time in a major tournament.[244] He was named man of the match in the group match against the Czech Republic (3-1).[245] Portugal were eliminated in the quarter-finals with a 3–2 loss against eventual finalists Germany.[246]

After Portugal's unsuccessful performance in the European Championship, Luiz Felipe Scolari was replaced as Portugal coach with Carlos Queiroz.[247] In July 2008, Queiroz named Ronaldo as the new permanent captain of the Portugal national team.[248]

On 15 June 2010, in Portugal's opening 2010 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.[249]

Ronaldo was named man of the match in all three of Portugal's group matches against Côte d'Ivoire (0-0), North Korea (7-0) and Brazil (0-0).[250][251][252] His only goal of the tournament came in Portugal's 7–0 group stage thrashing of North Korea on 21 June,[253] which marked his first international goal in 16 months.[254] The World Cup ended for Portugal with a 1–0 loss against eventual champions Spain in the Round of 16.

Euro 2012

Ronaldo scored seven goals in Portugal's UEFA Euro 2012 qualifying campaign, including two strikes against Bosnia in the play-offs for the tournament, and finished behind Germany's Miroslav Klose and the Netherlands' Klaas-Jan Huntelaar (not including the play-offs round). Portugal were drawn in Group B with Netherlands, Denmark and Germany, which was widely referred to as the "group of death" of the tournament.[255] 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."[256][257][258]

Ronaldo against Germany during their group stage match at UEFA Euro 2012.

After the opening 0–1 defeat against Germany, Ronaldo was criticised for under performing, showing frustration at his and his team-mates' errors and for walking off into the changing-rooms straight after the match, rather than thanking the crowd with the team. Ronaldo's team-mate, Nani, later defended him, stating that he had left the pitch as he needed to instantly be treated for a possible injury, also adding that he was under excessive pressure, as football is a team sport.[259]

During the group stage match between Denmark and Portugal (3-2 win), 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.[260] Asked about the Messi chants, Ronaldo responded irritatedly: "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."[261]

In the final group match between Portugal and the Netherlands, Ronaldo silenced his critics by scored two goals to secure a 2–1 victory for Portugal, allowing the team to advance to the quarterfinals.[262][263]

Ronaldo was further praised for his performance against the Czech Republic in the quarter-finals, where he 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. After scoring the winning goal, he ran to the camera and chanted "para ti" as he had dedicated the goal to his son.[264][265]

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.[266][267]

In the semi-final against Spain, Ronaldo had several chances, but he sent three shots over the bar.[268] His best chance came in the 90th minute, but shot the ball high and wide.[269] The match ended with penalties, but Ronaldo did not take a penalty in the shootout as he had been slated to take the fifth one, but it never got that far.[270] The Portugal coach, Paulo Bento, knocked back criticism of 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."[271][272]

Before and throughout the tournament, Ronaldo was particularly hailed by Argentine great Diego Maradona, who described Ronaldo as "the best player on the planet" and went on to say that "[Ronaldo] has shown his countrymen that he does deserve a monument in Lisbon."[267][273] Ronaldo was included in the UEFA Euro 2012 Team of the Tournament, the second time after 2004, and finished the competition as the joint-top goalscorer with three goals, along with five other players, although Spain's Fernando Torres took the Golden Boot. Though there was no third place playoff, UEFA decided for the first time to award both of the semi-final losers bronze medals.[274]

2014 World Cup cycle

On 17 October 2012, Ronaldo won his 100th cap for the Portugal national team in a World Cup qualification match against Northern Ireland (1-1) at Porto's Estádio do Dragão. He became the third youngest European ever to reach that figure in the process, after Germany's Lukas Podolski and Estonia's Kristen Viikmäe.[275]

On 14 August 2013, Ronaldo scored his 40th goal for Portugal in a 1–1 friendly draw against the Netherlands.[276] On 6 September 2013, Ronaldo netted his first international hat-trick in a 15-minute spell in the second half at Windsor Park against Northern Ireland (4-2) in a World Cup qualification match to become Portugal's second-highest scorer ahead of Eusébio.[277][278] With his goals against Northern Ireland, Ronaldo also established a personal record, since it was the first time that he scored in three consecutive matches with Portugal.[279]

Ronaldo scored eight goals in Portugal's FIFA World Cup 2014 qualifying campaign, including all four of the team's goals in the two-legged play-off against Sweden which ensured Portugal's place at the finals.[280] His hat-trick in the second-leg made him Portugal's joint-top goalscorer of all-time after equalling Pauleta's record tally of 47 international goals.[281]

On 5 March 2014, Ronaldo netted twice in Portugal's 5-1 friendly win over Cameroon to take his tally to 49 goals, thus becoming his country's all-time leading goalscorer.[282]

Style of play

Ronaldo, playing for Portugal in 2012, has been compared to four-time FIFA/Ballon d'Or winner Lionel Messi.

Widely regarded as one of the two best players in the world within his generation (the other being Lionel Messi), and as one of the best players to ever play the game,[283][284] Cristiano Ronaldo plays an attacking role, most often playing as either a striker or as a winger,[285][286] and is known for his finishing, pace, dribbling, positioning and his passing, crossing, freekick ability.[74][287] He is able to play on either wing as well through the center of the pitch, making him a very versatile attacker.[288]

Tactically, Ronaldo plays a powerful attacking role, often drifting from the left wing into the centre when moving off the ball.[289] Ronaldo is known to be mentally sharp, with good vision, predicting certain plays, and also possesses very good reactions, balance and agility. Although right footed, he is also able to control the ball and cross and finish well with his left foot.[290][291]

Ronaldo is known for his pace, skill, control and dribbling ability, as well as his flair in beating players during one on one situations. He is able to finish well both inside the area and from distance.[74][292] He is also an accurate set piece and penalty kick specialist.[293] Uniquely, his height, strength, jumping ability and heading technique have given him an edge in winning aerial challenges for balls, with the majority of his goals often being headers.[294]

Since his arrival at Manchester United, Ronaldo underwent a major body transformation, from a skinny youth to an athletically built adult. His well-built, muscular body type allows him to retain possession of the ball.[295] Some figures in the football world, such as former Manchester United strength and conditioning coach Mike Clegg and French legend Zinedine Zidane, have praised Ronaldo's incredible work ethic, dedication to improvement on the training field and have stated that he has been renowned for this.[296][297] Ronaldo once stated his desire to carve his name in history alongside footballing legends such as Pelé and Diego Maradona,[298] and that he would rather be remembered as a role model than one of world football's best players.[299]

However, Ronaldo has at times been criticised for his diving when tackled. For which José Mourinho said: "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."[300]

Earlier in his career, Ronaldo had 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.[301] 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.[301] His managers, team-mates and various journalists have commented that this reputation has caused an unfair image of him.[302][303][304][305][306][307][308] 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.[309]

Ronaldo's direct football style, skill and goalscoring ability have been his most noticeable traits throughout his career, and his overall talent has at times led him to be considered a player who stands out and who can be a match changer.[310] Ronaldo is said to play at his fullest capabilities only when he's under pressure and/or playing against a strong team.[311]

Ronaldo's increasing production led the media to draw comparisons between him and FC Barcelona forward Lionel Messi,[312][313][314][315] as the pair possesses similar attributes for their team and also for revolutionising statistics for goals scored,[316][317] 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. 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."[318] However, some former great players have criticised the comparison, such as Brazilian legend Pelé and former Portuguese international Luis Figo, who cited that they have different playing styles.[319][320] Though the comparison has been criticised, many figures in the football world have cited Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo as the world's finest players.[273][321][322][323][324][325] Ronaldo's former Real Madrid manager, José Mourinho, once stated: "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."[326]

"Maturity brings many things. When I went to see them play against City, some of his decision-making in terms of passing was brilliant. One-touch passing, good crosses. In the six years we had him, you just saw his game grow all the time, and he was a fantastic player. Now you see the complete player. His decision-making, his maturity, his experience, plus all the great skills he has got, they all make him the complete player."[327]
— Alex Ferguson on the 27-year-old Ronaldo, January 2013

Outside football

Personal life

Ronaldo during his spell at Real Madrid.

Ronaldo's father, José Dinis Aveiro, died of an alcoholism-related liver condition at the age of 52 in September 2005 when Ronaldo was 20.[328] Ronaldo has said that he does not drink alcohol and he received libel damages over a Daily Mirror article that reported him drinking heavily in a nightclub while recovering from an injury in July 2008.[329]

In October 2005, a month after his father died, Ronaldo was arrested on suspicion of raping a woman in a London hotel and released on bail.[330] Ronaldo denied the allegations and charges were dropped by Scotland Yard in November 2005 due to "insufficient evidence". Ronaldo issued a statement saying: "I have always strongly maintained my innocence of any wrong-doing and I am glad that this matter is at an end so that I can concentrate on playing for Manchester United."[331]

Ronaldo announced that he had become a father on 3 July 2010. His official Facebook and Twitter pages refer to the birth of his son and request privacy.[332] The child, named Cristiano[333] is in full custody of Ronaldo.[332]

Ronaldo has previously dated English models Alice Goodwin[334] and Gemma Atkinson, and since the start of 2010, he has been dating Russian model Irina Shayk.[335] He is a practising Roman Catholic.[336]


Television footage of the 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake and tsunami showed an eight-year-old boy survivor named Martunis 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.[337][338] After accepting undisclosed damages from a libel case against The Sun newspaper in 2008, Ronaldo donated the damages to a charity in Madeira.[339] 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.[340] In support of the victims of the 2010 Madeira flood, Ronaldo pledged to play in a charity match in Madeira between the Primeira Liga club FC Porto and players from Madeiran based clubs Marítimo and Nacional.[341]

In November 2011, Ronaldo donated a pair of his football boots to be auctioned by Real Madrid's 'Clasico' network. They were sold for £2050 with the proceeds going to fund schools in Gaza, Palestine.[342] 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.[343] In November 2012, Ronaldo sold the golden boot he had won in 2011 for €1.5 million and gave the money to fund schools for children in Gaza.[344] In December 2012, Ronaldo joined FIFA's '11 for Health' programme to raise awareness amongst kids of how to steer clear of conditions including drug addiction, HIV, malaria and obesity.[345][346]

In January 2013, Ronaldo became Save the Children's new Global Artist Ambassador, in which he hopes to help fight child hunger and obesity.[347] In March 2013, Ronaldo agreed to be the ambassador for The Mangrove Care Forum in Indonesia. The forum aims to raise awareness to the Indonesian and international community of the importance of conserving biodiversity and ecosystem of mangroves in the South Bay of Benoa, Bali.[348]


In March 2010, France Football ranked Ronaldo third in its list of the world's highest paid footballers, behind David Beckham and Lionel Messi, with £27 million (€30 million) in combined income from salaries, bonuses and off-field earnings.[349][350] His net wealth was estimated at $160 million.[351]

In January 2014, Spain's high tax laws meant that, reportedly the world's highest-paid player in terms of gross salary, Ronaldo (£11.87 million-a-year) could only rank second in terms of net pay in World Soccer Magazine's list of the footballers with the highest salary, focusing on net basic salaries and do not include bonuses and incentives.[352]

In March 2014, Goal ranked Ronaldo first in its list of the world's richest footballers, with an estimated net wealth of €148 million, taking into account all the players' income throughout their careers.[353] In the same month, Ronaldo was ranked second in France Football's annual list of the world's highest paid footballers with €39.5 million in combined income from salaries, bonuses and off-field earnings.[354]


Ronaldo has signed many sponsorships as his reputation rapidly grew from his time at Manchester United.[355] In October 2009, Ronaldo was named the new spokesmodel for Emporio Armani men's underwear and jeans.[356] In February 2010, he re-upped his endorsement contract with American sportswear company Nike until 2014.[357] He has also signed other sponsorships from Coca-Cola, Castrol, Konami, Banco Espirito Santo, Motorola, Jacob & Co., Herbalife, KFC and Fly Emirates.[358][359][360][361][362][363][364][365] All of his sponsorships have earned him a total of an estimated $21 million per year as of June 2013.[366]


In 2006, Ronaldo opened a fashion boutique under the name "CR7" (his initials and shirt number) on the island of Madeira, Portugal. Ronaldo expanded his business with a second clothes boutique in Lisbon in 2008. The stores include diamond-studded belts, jeans with leather pockets and patented buckled loafers. The store also sells slinky outfits for women.[367]

In 2013, Ronaldo expanded his fashion line. In partnership with Danish company JBS Textile Group, Ronaldo designed his own underwear line.[368] The line named CR7 was unveiled at the Palacio de Cibeles in Madrid on 31 October 2013.[369]


Ronaldo's autobiography, titled Moments, was published in December 2007.[370]

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.[371] Ronaldo is sponsored by the U.S. sportswear company Nike and features in their television advertisements.[372]

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 football series PES with his debut as a cover star of the series Pro Evolution Soccer 2012 and was involved in promotional campaigns for the game.[373] In December 2011, Cristiano launched an iPhone game called Heads Up with Cristiano. The game is created by developer RockLive.[374] Ronaldo was then the face of Pro Evolution Soccer 2013, and was also involved in the motion capturing and the trailers.[375]

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.[376] In October 2012, Ronaldo became the first sportsperson to reach 50 million followers on Facebook.[377] 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.[378]

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.[379] 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.[380]

The opening of the Cristiano Ronaldo Museum, "CR7", in Funchal, Madeira, on 15 December 2013.

In June 2012, SportsPro rated Ronaldo as the 5th most marketable athlete in the world,[381] but he slipped to eighth position in 2013.[382] On January 2014, a study released by Gerardo Molina, an honorary professor and specialist in sports marketing for the company Euromericas Sport Marketing, claimed that Ronaldo was five times less marketable than rival Lionel Messi.[383]

In July 2012, Ronaldo was revealed by computer security company McAfee as the most "dangerous" footballer online in cyberspace. According to McAfee, fans on the internet searching out for "Cristiano Ronaldo", "Cristiano Ronaldo download", "Cristiano Ronaldo and photos" or "Cristiano Ronaldo and videos" might run the risks of online threats that could steal their personal information.[384]

On 15 December 2013, Ronaldo unveiled a museum, Museu CR7, dedicated to himself in his hometown of Funchal, Madeira. The exhibition features a number of trophies, medals, memorabilia and numerous photos of the Portuguese player.[385] Earlier in the same month, Ronaldo had also unveiled his own social networking site and app named Viva Ronaldo, which allows his fans from around the world to communicate with each other and keep up with the latest news about the Portuguese player.[386]

On 20 January 2014, Ronaldo was named Grand Officer of the Order of Prince Henry by Portugal President Aníbal Cavaco Silva in a ceremony at the Belém National Palace in Lisbon. The knighthood is given in relation to the expansion of Portuguese culture, which Ronaldo has certainly helped promote over the last decade.[387]

It is widely acknowledged that Ronaldo has reached a popularity level in football like no other has in the past. In 2013, Ronaldo alone was responsible for Real Madrid selling one million shirts with his name printed on the back (1.4 million jerseys overall). Only two other clubs in the world sold more than one million jerseys in 2013.[388]

Career statistics


As of 2 April 2014
Club Season League Cup League Cup Continental[a] Other[b] Total
Division Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals
Sporting CP 2002–03[389] Primeira Liga 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[390] Premier League 29 4 5 2 1 0 5 0 0 0 40 6
2004–05[390] 33 5 7 4 2 0 8 0 0 0 50 9
2005–06[390] 33 9 2 0 4 2 8 1 47 12
2006–07[390] 34 17 7 3 1 0 11 3 53 23
2007–08[390] 34 31 3 3 0 0 11 8 1 0 49 42
2008–09[390] 33 18 2 1 4 2 12 4 2 1 53 26
Total 196 84 26 13 12 4 55 16 3 1 292 118
Real Madrid 2009–10[391] La Liga 29 26 0 0 6 7 35 33
2010–11[392] 34 40[c] 8 7 12 6 54 53
2011–12[393] 38 46 5 3 10 10 2 1 55 60
2012–13[394] 34 34 7 7 12 12 2 2 55 55
2013–14[395] 27 28 6 3 8 14 41 45
Total 162 174 26 20 48 49 4 3 240 246
Career total 383 261 55 35 12 4 106 65 7 4 563 369
  1. ^ Includes appearances in the UEFA Champions League and UEFA Europa League/UEFA Cup.
  2. ^ Includes appearances in the FA Community Shield, FIFA Club World Cup and Supercopa de España.
  3. ^ 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.[104]


Ronaldo playing against Argentina in Geneva, Switzerland on 9 February 2011.
As of match played 5 March 2014.[396][397]
National team Year Apps Goals
Portugal 2003 2 0
2004 16 7
2005 11 2
2006 14 6
2007 10 5
2008 8 1
2009 7 1
2010 11 3
2011 8 7
2012 13 5
2013 9 10
2014 1 2
Total 110 49

International goals

Scores and results list Portugal's goal tally first.[398]


Ronaldo with Lionel Messi before an international friendly between Portugal and Argentina in Geneva, Switzerland, on 9 February 2011.


Manchester United
Real Madrid


Runner-up (1): 2004
Bronze (1): 2012




(As of 4 April 2014)



  • Only footballer to have won the European Golden Shoe in two different leagues: English Premier League and Spanish La Liga
  • Most goals scored in a UEFA Champions League season: 14 goals (shared with Lionel Messi and José Altafini)
  • Most consecutive UEFA Champions League matches scored in: 8 matches
  • Most goals scored in the UEFA Champions League group stage: 9 goals[192]
  • Most UEFA Champions League goals scored in the calendar year: 15 goals in 2013[406]



  • First footballer ever to score against every team in a single season in La Liga (shared with Lionel Messi, who scored consecutively against every teams)
  • Fastest La Liga player to score 150 league goals[407]
  • Most consecutive Clásicos matches scored in: 6 matches[408]


Real Madrid

  • Most goals scored in a season in all competitions: 60 goals
  • Most goals scored in a single La Liga season: 46 goals
  • Most goals scored in a single UEFA Champions League season: 14 goals
  • Most hat-tricks in a single season: 7 hat-tricks
  • Fastest player to reach 50 league goals[409]
  • Fastest player to reach 100 league goals[410]
  • Fastest player to reach 150 league goals
  • Fastest player to reach 200 official goals[411]


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External links

Preceded by
Nuno Gomes
Portugal national football team captain
Succeeded by