Cristiano Ronaldo Biography
|5th February 1985
|Place of Birth:
|Portuguese Championship - 02/03
Champions League - 07/08
Premier League - 06/07, 07/08, 08/09
FA Cup - 03/04
League Cup - 05/06, 08/09
Cristiano Ronaldo arrived in Manchester amid a media storm. Manchester United had managed to sign the player without the Press suspecting anything. As the Stock Market was told that the player had been signed, hundreds of journalists flooded up to Manchester to get a proper look at one of Manchester United's youngest signings.
Ronaldo was born on the 5th February 1985, on the small island of Madeira, which is owned by the Portuguese. Named after Ronald Reagan, due to his father's respect for the man, few would have gambled that this child would make it to the very top of the Football tree, especially with Madeira mainly being used for farm-land. He has one brother and two sisters, and it is family whom he deems most important in his life at the moment.
It was on the dusty back-streets of this small island that Ronaldo learnt his first few tricks, and it was also on this Island that he was first scouted. By the age of twelve Ronaldo had established himself as the best player on the Island, able to use his ball skills and pace to get past full-grown defenders for Andorinha.
Having been recognised as a serious talent, all that was left was for the big Portuguese clubs to scrap it out for his signature. Though Porto and Boavista came in for him, he could only ever play for Sporting the club he supported as a boy.
He progressed slowly through the youth ranks, although all those who worked with him were impressed with the talent that he had for his age, as well as his maturity.
At the tender age of 17, Ronaldo was thrown in at the deep end with his first game against Moreirense. Two goals on his first appearance not only gave him his dream debut, but also endeared him to the fans, who soon learnt to chant for the ball to be passed to him. A goal against title-rivals Boavista also saw him rise to the top of the "Fan's Favourites" list.
His skills were watched closely by all of the big clubs in Europe, including Liverpool and Juventus, in the U-17 European Championships. His dazzling skills put England U-17s out, and everyone who watched felt they had seen something special.
At the end of his first season at Sporting he was linked to Liverpool. Though he claimed he was extremely happy at Sporting, he was also flattered by the interest of such a big club, who used to do well in the Premier League.
Sporting finished top in the league, and Ronaldo was hailed as the future of the club, alongside Quaresma, another Portuguese Starlet.
As it was, both moved away, with the money on the table to much for the Portuguese club to turn down. Best-friend Quaresma ended up at Barcelona, whilst Ronaldo came to the bright red of Manchester.
The deal saw Ronaldo become the most expensive teenage signing in Britain, with Manchester United paying Â£12.24million over two seasons, in two equal payments.
Those who had not seen him play baulked at the price such a lot of money for someone unproven!
Those who had seen the Man Utd vs. Sporting friendly just three days before, however, knew that this player was special. Playing for Sporting, Ronaldo had taken the game to the reds, and was the main reason that Manchester United lost 3-1. After the game, all the United players could talk about was how well Ronaldo had played, and they begged Sir Alex to buy him. Sir Alex had been following him for months, but decided that the time was right not least because other clubs were getting increasingly closer to buying him.
And so, on 12th August 2003, Cristiano Ronaldo held up the famous Red shirt, with his favourite number 7 (it is hero Figo's number) for all the press to see.
A new star had been born.
His first performance for the club was against Bolton. He entered the fray with an hour gone, with United 1 0 up. A standing ovation from the fans at old Trafford did nothing to settle his nerves, but he rewarded the fans for their trust. A man-of-the-match performance followed, and Ronaldo became legend. He had a hand in two of the goals, won an unconverted penalty, and mesmerised the Bolton defence.
The next day the media proclaimed him one of the best players ever for United, comparing him with Red-Legend George Best. Much had been seen, but much is still to come.
Ronaldo got better and better as the season went on, eventually leading the Reds to the FA Cup - though somewhat suprisingly, he was not awarded "Man of the Match in that game". It was a disappointing season for United, but no-one was questioning whether Ronaldo was worth the Â£12million Sir Alex had splashed out on him just eight months previously - everyone could see that Ronaldo was going to be an incredible player.
Ronaldo matured so much during his first year at United that he became a regular in the Portuguese national first team squad. He played a major role in their progress to the final of Euro 2004, where they opposed Greece. In a match that was played on Portuguese soil, Portugal deserved to win the game, but were beaten by a goal scored on the counter-attack by a defensive Greece team.
Ronaldo returned late to Manchester United following international action for the Portuguese Olympic side (Portugal were knocked out in the Quarters), and the Reds were already a good few points behind the leaders Chelsea. Ronaldo put in a number of classy performances, although his strike-rate never really picked up until after he had agreed on a Â£50 bet with Sir Alex that he would score 10 that season.
As it turned out, Ronaldo was on 9 goals going into the last game of the seaon - the FA Cup Final. United had failed to score in two games against AC Milan in Europe in March, and they had fallen badly behind Chelsea in the league table because of scrappy defeats. Would Ronny be able to get his goal? No! Despite conquerring Arsenal for the full 120 minutes (the game went into Extra-Time), the match went score-lessly into penalties, and United lost!
With his Summer off Ronaldo visited the tsunami-hit communities of Banda Aceh before heading off on United's Far-East Tour, and signing a new contract that will keep him at the club for many years to come.
Ronaldo's third season at the club started on a sad note, with his fathers death deeply affecting his performances and attitude both on and off the pitch. To lose his father so young was hard for Cristiano, but he came through.
His season was further disrupted by a rape allegation by a media-hungry untrustworthy woman (which ended up being dropped). It may have been dropped, but it caused a major furore, and Ronaldo said at the end of the season that he did not enjoy being 'front page news'.
Chelsea cruised into an 18 point lead as United stuttered, along with Ronaldo, to find form. It finally came in ajnuary 2006, after the team had been knocked out of the Champions League in the group stage - the last match against Porto saw Ronaldo flick his middle fingers up at the rival Portuguese fans and earned him a two-match ban!
United managed to cut Chelsea's lead to just four points but couldn't put the pressure on Chelsea on Good Friday, when they could only draw with Sunderland, giving any kind of title hopes up.
Ronaldo began to hit top form, and was starting to score goals again, just in time for the World Cup in Germany.
Books could be written on Cristiano's World Cup (and undoubtedly will). He was the best player on the pitch at times, and won many fans internationally with his attacking play - at a tournament that was characterised by dull and negativefootball and tactics. You could always depend on Ronaldo to run at people and create chances, playing in the true spirit of the game.
BAck in England, however, he won few friends as the media tried to portray him as the culprit for England's downfall when Portugal beat them in the Quarter Finals. Rooney had a wild stamp / lunge at Ricardo Carvalho's "tomatoes", and Ronaldo ran over to make sure the ref had seen it. This is tantamount to grabbing the red card out of the refs back pocket and sending Rooney off himself according to The Sun, and they fully vilified Ronaldo, even demanding he be deported!
Ronaldo was through to the semis, after scoring the winning penalty against England (talk about having the last laugh), but couldn't conjure up enough to beat a dull French side who won with an exceedingly dodgy penalty early in the game and shut up shop.
Ronaldo was then linked with Real Madrid, even saying himself that he wasn't sure England would be safe for him amidst all the chaos.
Thankfully, Fergie refused to consider Manchester United without him, and he returned, made friends with Rooney.
A phenomenal season ensued. Ronaldo was booed at his first outing away in a friendly at Oxford, which only made him play harder - scoring two goals and setting another up!
He continued this form forwards, and was responsible for United's better play - his darting and daring runs and tricks lighting up the pitch alongside Saha and Rooney in attack.
Over the course of the season he scored over 20 goals, winning him his bet with Fergie, the Premier League, and 14 personal accolades! That included a first-ever hatrick of PFA Player of the Month awards, and everything from the FA Player of the Year to the Writers Player and beyond.
An accomplished season saw him sign a new contract on mega-money, and establish himself as one of the true stars of the World game. He will continue to rise this season.
Cristiano Ronaldo's rise to the very top of the game continued. The season started off slowly, with Manchester United falling off the pace with their worst start to the Premier League ever!
It didn't take too long before Cristiano was knocking in the goals, however, and United soon started to win, adn win well.
Over the course of the season, Ronaldo went on to score 42 goals - which is phenomenal as a winger. He had a few misses that will be remembered less affectionately by the fans - penalty misses at West Ham (which would have got 3 points for United instead of one), a penalty miss in the first leg of the Champions League semis against Barcelona, in Barcelona, and the miss from the spot in the Champions League Final.
With Ronaldo able to guarantee goals for the team and an ultra-mean defence, United won the Premier League (again!), and a historic Double was completed when United beat Chelsea in Moscow on penalties - Ronaldo headed United in front, but was left in tears when he missed his shot. All John Terry needed to do was score from 12 yards to win the Champions League, but thankfully he missed! Ronaldo was saved, United went on to win in sudden death, adn everyone was ecstatic!
Moments after the victory Ronaldo told the fans 'I'm staying', but just days later there was confusion, which dragged on all summer, as to where Ronaldo would be playing in 08/09. The player himself made it clear he wanted to move to Real Madrid, describing it as a 'Dream Move', but United refused all offers.
Following a disappointing Quarter-Final exit in Euro 2008, Ronaldo had treatment for an ankle injury, and returned to Manchester United only after Sir Alex Ferguson had talked him round!
Cristiano's season started slowly, with his recuperation fromteh ankle operation hampering his speed and sharpness on the ball.
Whilst never quite reaching his aximum throughout the whole season, he was the scorer of 26 goals - still impressive for a winger - and these included some thrilling and important match-winning goals.
His shots from distance against Arsenal and Porto in the Champions League, in particular, proved that he was confident of hitting the ball perfectly every time.
Manchester United romped home to another Premier League title with ease, and were able to concentrate on facing Barcelona - hoping t become the first team to successfully defend their Champions League title.
On May 27th in a packed Stadio Olympico, Barcelona were too good for United, and triumphed 2-0. Ronaldo was one of the few Reds to come out with any credit for his work rate and creativity in what had been a very poor performance by United.
After the game, the Press speculated about Ronaldo heading to Real as one of Perez's new galacticos, though United took the world by surprise when they announced that a transfer for a world-record Â£80m had been agreed in early June.
Cristiano Ronaldo was formally introduced to Real Madrid at the Bernabeu stadium, with a world record 75,000 fans turning up to hear and see their newest star.
With Kaka and Karim benzema also joining what was already a world class squad, great things are expected of Real Madrid.