Christiano Ronaldo dos Santos Aveiro is a Portuguese soccer superstar. By 2003 when he was just 16 years old-Manchester United paid 12 million ( over $14 million U.S dollars) to sign him, a record fee for a player of his age.
In the 2004 FA Cup final, Ronaldo scored Manchester’s first three goals and helped them capture the championship. He set a franchise record for goals scored in 2008 before Real Madrid paid a record $131 million for his service the following year.
Among his many accomplishments, he has won a record-tying five Ballon d’Or awards for player of the year and led Portugal to an emotional victory in the 2016 European Championship. In July 2018, Ronaldo embarked on a new phase of his career by signing with Italian Serie A club Juventus.
Christiano Ronaldo was born on February 5, 1985, in Funchal, Madeira, Portugal, a small island off the western coast of the country born to Maria Dolores dos Santos and Jose’ Dinis Aveiro.
He was named after Ronald Reagan, one of his father’s favorite actors.
Ronaldo grew up in a largely working-class neighborhood in a small tin-roofed home that overlooked the ocean. Ronaldo was introduced to the game of soccer through his dad, who worked as an equipment manager at a boy’s club.
His early life was shaped by hardship, as his father often drank too much. To help keep the children fed and maintain some financial stability, Ronaldo’s mother worked as a cook and cleaning person.
In 2005, when Ronaldo was playing for Manchester United, his father died from alcohol-related kidney problems; in 2007, his mother struggled with breast cancer. The former was especially hard for Ronaldo since he and his dad had been close.
By the time he was 10 years old, Ronaldo was already recognized as a phenomenon-a kid who ate, slept, and drank soccer. “All he wanted to do as a boy was play football,” his godfather, Fernao Sousa, recalled for British reporters, adding, “He loved the game so much he’d miss meals or escape out of his bedroom window with a ball when he was supposed to be doing his homework.”
By his early teens, Ronaldo’s talent and legend had grown considerably. After a stint with Nacional da Madeira, he signed with Sporting Portugal in 2001.