Cristiano Ronaldo

Cristiano Ronaldo

Consistently ranked as one of the best players in the world in international football circles, Cristiano Ronaldo set European and international records for the sport during a extraordinary career for clubs in England, Spain and his native Portugal. Born Cristinano Ronaldo dos Santos Aveiro in Funchal, Portugal, he was introduced to soccer through his father's job as an equipment manager at a boy's club. By the time he was eight years old, Ronaldo was already a gifted player, and began competing at the amateur level before his teenaged years. He soon graduated to the professional leagues, and while playing for Sporting United in 2001, Ronaldo gave such an impressive performance in a match against Manchester United that the players and managers on the opposing team lobbied to have him join their ranks. He signed with the English club in 2003 for a record sum of £12.24 million, and led Manchester to three premier league titles; he also achieved career highlights by scoring 42 goals in the and earning the FIFA World Player of the Year award in the 2007-08 season alone. The following year, Real Madrid set football records by paying £80 million to sign Ronaldo to a six-year contract. He continued to establish himself as one of the sport's best players through numerous awards, including two FIFA Ballon d'Or awards, and an array of European and world records, most notably his status as the only player in football history to score 50 or more goals in a season on five consecutive occasions. In 2015, Ronaldo was named the best Portuguese player of all time as part of the Portuguese Football Federation's 100th anniversary celebration. In 2017, Ronaldo became the all-time top scorer in the top five European leagues, bringing Real Madrid to its 12th title and third in four years. In both 2016 and 2017, he was named both the world's most famous and highest paid athlete.