Cristiano Ronaldo

*This post originally appeared on www.danielcaskey.org.

Cristiano Ronaldo is arguably the best soccer player in the world. In 2016 Forbes ranked him as the best-paid athlete in the world. Over the past few years, he has routinely appeared at the top of such lists or in the top five spots. Keep reading to learn more about this soccer legend.

Early Life

Cristiano Ronaldo dos Santos Aveiro was born on February 5, 1985, in Funchal, Madeira, Portugal. In addition to being the birthplace of Ronaldo, the island of Madeira is famous for having the largest New Year fireworks display in the world. Ronaldo’s father was a heavy drinker. His mother worked two jobs in order to provide the family with extra money.

Soccer

Ronaldo discovered soccer through his father who worked as an equipment manager at a soccer club. At the age of 10, friends and family could already see that Ronaldo had a gift for soccer. Young Ronaldo would often neglect homework and forego meals so that he could focus on his game.

By his teens, it was clear to everyone that Ronaldo was going to be a talented player. In 2001 he signed with Sporting Portugal, one of the biggest soccer clubs in the country. During a game between Sporting Portugal and Manchester United, 16-year-old Ronaldo wowed his opponents with his ability. As a result of his performance, Manchester United paid £12 million to acquire Ronaldo. At the time the fee made Ronaldo the most expensive teenage player in English football history.

Manchester United

Ronaldo saw a lot of success while playing for Manchester United. During the team’s appearance in the 2004 FA Cup final, he scored the first three goals and helped the team win the championship. However, Ronaldo faced some personal struggles while playing for the team. In October 2005 his father died from kidney problems related to alcohol abuse. Then in 2007, his mother battled breast cancer.

Real Madrid

Ronaldo signed with Real Madrid in 2009 for $131 million, the most expensive soccer trade at the time. As a Real Madrid player, Ronaldo’s success has only continued. He currently holds the record for the most goals scored during a single season in the UEFA Champions League. Additionally, he is the top all-time scorer in the league. Last month it was announced that Ronaldo was selected as FIFA’s 2016 best player of the year, an award he has won four other times. While accepting his award Ronaldo said that 2016 was the best year of his career.

To learn more about Cristiano Ronaldo visit his official site.

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