Who is Cristiano Ronaldo?
by Abdul Arshad
Cristiano Ronaldo dos Santos Aveiro was born on the 5th February 1985 in Funchal,
Madeira, Portugal. He has one older brother called Hugo and two elder sisters called
Elma and Liliana Cátia.
The 6ft 1in star started his career at CF Andorinha in Portugal at the age of 8. CS
Marítimo and CD Nacional were interested but he signed for CD Nacional at the age
of 10 after his title winning season at CD Nacional, but then signed for their rival club
Sporting CP when he went for a 3 day trial for an undisclosed fee even though he had
supported SL Benfica in his boyhood.
He joined Sporting’s other players at Alcochete. In his first few months at Lisbon, he
had to defend himself from the other players as they taunted him about his Madeiran
accent. Cristiano became the first player in Sporting’s history to play for the Under-
16, Under-17, Under-18 B and first team. Sporting saw that he had no support so they
let his mother join him. On his debut against Moreirense he scored two goals.
He featured in the UEFA Under 17 Championships. During the UEFA Under 17
Championships he drew attention from all over the world. He was first spotted by
former Liverpool FC manager Gérard Houllier at the age of 16. However, Liverpool
later withdrew because he was too young and needed time to develop into a world-
class player. In summer 2003 he came to the attention of Sir Alex Ferguson when
Sporting beat Manchester United 3-1 at the Alvalade XXI stadium in Lisbon. In the
match, Ronaldo demonstrated his talent by playing on both wings and wowed the
Manchester United team, who approached Sir Alex Ferguson and suggested a possible
transfer for the young star.
After the departure of David Beckham to Real Madrid, United approached Sporting
CP for the young star and signed him for a fee of £12.24 million when he became the
club’s first Portuguese player. He was handed the no.7 shirt but initially asked for the
no.28 which he had worn at Sporting and because did not want to be pressurized to
live up to the expectations of United Greats such as George Best, Bryan Robson, Eric
Cantona and Beckham himself.
Ronaldo made his debut for Manchester United as a 60th minute substitute against
Bolton Wanderers at Old Trafford, a 4-0 Manchester United win. On 29 October
2005, Ronaldo scored Manchester United's 1000th Premiership goal, in a 4-1 loss at
the hands of Middlesbrough. He bagged a double in February, with two goals at home
to Fulham and another pair at Fratton Park, and also scored in the following
Premiership game against Wigan taking his tally to 8 Premiership goals. On 26th
February 2006, Ronaldo played in the Carling Cup Final against Wigan in the
Millennium Stadium at Cardiff, and scored a goal - taking his season's tally to 10
goals. He was named FIFAPro Special Young Player of the Year 2005, the only
award to be voted for by fans. He received the same accolade the following year in
2006. He was also ranked 20th in the FIFA Player of the Year 2005 standings.
In 2006, a row between him and Ruud Van Nistelrooy at the Carrington training
ground intensified speculation about their roles at the club. However, Ronaldo signed
a new deal with United that will last until 2010.