Cristiano Ronaldo

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Cristiano Ronaldo
Cristiano Ronaldo 2018.jpg

Cristiano Ronaldo at the 2018 World Cup
Name Cristiano Ronaldo dos Santos Aveiro
Birthday 5. February 1985
Birthplace Funchal, Portugal
Size 187 cm[1]
Position Wing, Storm
Years Station
1993–1995 CF Andorinha
1995–1997 Nacional Funchal
1997–2002 Sporting Lisbon
Years Station Games (goals)1
2002–2003 Sporting Lisbon 25 00(3)
2003–2009 Manchester United 196 0(84)
2009–2018 Real Madrid 292 (311)
2018– Juventus Torino 94 0(79)
National team
Years Selection Games (goals)2
2001 Portugal U15 9 00(7)
2001–2002 Portugal U17 7 00(5)
2003 Portugal U20 5 00(1)
2002–2003 Portugal U21 10 00(3)
2004 Portugal U23 3 00(2)
2003– Portugal 173 (103)
1 Only league matches are shown.
Status: May 2, 2021

2 Status: March 30, 2021

Cristiano Ronaldo [

kɾiʃti’ɐnu ʁuˈnaɫðu] (born 5 February 1985 in Funchal, Madeira; full name Cristiano Ronaldo dos Santos Aveiro[A 1]) is a Portuguese footballer who signed for Juventus Turin in the summer of 2018. He is the captain, record player and record goal scorer of the Portugal national team, with whom he won the 2016 European Championship.

Trained at Sporting Lisbon’s youth academy, Cristiano Ronaldo was signed by Manchester United at the age of 18 and developed into a world-class footballer. Starting his career on the right side of midfield, he later moved to the left wing and won three consecutive national championships with Manchester United, as well as the UEFA Champions League in 2008.

After his transfer to Real Madrid, the most expensive in football history at the time, he averaged more than one goal per game in over 400 competitive matches. He has been Real Madrid’s record goalscorer since 2015. In 2014, 2016, 2017 and 2018, he won four more Champions League titles with the Madrilenians. He is the first player in the Champions League era to win five titles.

Ronaldo is the only footballer to have won championships in England, Spain and Italy and been named Footballer of the Year. He has won the Golden Boot four times as Europe’s top goalscorer and has been top scorer in several club competitions. He was repeatedly named World Footballer of the Year as well as Europe’s Footballer of the Year. In addition, there are numerous top-3 placings in these elections.

Origin and family

Cristiano Ronaldo dos Santos Aveiro was born in 1985, the youngest of four children of Maria Dolores dos Santos Aveiro (b. 1954) and José Dinis Aveiro (1954-2005), in Santo António, Funchal County, the capital of the Portuguese island of Madeira, located in the Atlantic Ocean.[2] He grew up in humble circumstances with his brother and two sisters.[3] His father worked as a municipal gardener and kit keeper for regional league side CF Andorinha. Ronaldo’s mother was a cook in a restaurant. His middle name “Ronaldo” was named after the then US president Ronald Reagan, his father’s favourite actor.[4] Ronaldo’s father was a serious alcoholic and died of liver and kidney failure in 2005 at the age of 51.[5]

Ronaldo is a father of four. On 4 July 2010, he announced that he had become the father of a son. He has sole custody of this son. The identity of the mother is unknown.[6] From May 2010 to January 2015, he was in a relationship with Russian model Irina Shayk. On 29 June 2017, Ronaldo confirmed the birth of his twin children carried by a surrogate mother.[7] He has been dating Spanish model Georgina Rodríguez since the fall of 2016.[8] In November 2017, their first child together was born.[9]


In the club

The first steps

Cristiano Ronaldo started playing football at the age of three. At the age of eight, he joined the amateur club CF Andorinha, where his father worked as a kit attendant. In 1995, Nacional Funchal and Marítimo Funchal, the two leading clubs in Madeira, showed interest in signing the young talent. The choice eventually fell to the smaller Nacional club, after Marítimo representatives broke off a meeting with Ronaldo’s advisor at Andorinha. In 1997, at the age of 12, he completed a three-day trial at Sporting Lisbon before moving to the capital club.[10]

Sporting Lisbon

Ronaldo’s shirt in the Sporting Lisbon club museum

At Sporting Lisbon’s squad academy, which was renamed Academia Cristiano Ronaldo in his honour in 2020,[11] ronaldo trained from then on in Alcochete with other youth players of the club under professional guidance. In the process, he initially had acceptance problems with his comrades, most of whom were from the surrounding area of Lisbon and made fun of Ronaldo’s specific dialect from Madeira. An extreme growth spurt and a cardiac arrhythmia, which put the continuation of his career in question and necessitated an operation, also initially stood in the way of his further sporting development.[12] Ronaldo first came into the international spotlight in the spring of 2002 when he took part in the European Under-17 Championship.[13] In the 2002/03 season, he became the first Sporting Lisbon youth player to appear for the U16, U17, U18, reserve and professional teams in a single season.[14] He made his debut on 29 September 2002 against Sporting Braga[15] and scored two goals in a 3-0 win over Moreirense FC in his second senior match on 7 October 2002

By this time, Gérard Houllier of Liverpool FC and Arsène Wenger of Arsenal FC were already courting the Portuguese’s favour in England.[16][17] Juventus Turin and FC Barcelona were also interested in signing him.[18][19] On 6 August 2003, Ronaldo met Alex Ferguson and Manchester United when Sporting defeated the English giants 3-1 at the opening ceremony of the José Alvalade Stadium in Lisbon. Ronaldo demonstrated his ability on both flanks and so impressed his opponents with his tricky play that they approached their coach about a possible transfer for the young Portuguese.[20]

Manchester United

2003-2006: Development and breakthrough

On 12 August 2003, Ronaldo moved to Manchester United for €17.5 million to succeed David Beckham at the right midfield position.[21] He was the first Portuguese to join Manchester United and on his arrival was given the prestigious number 7 shirt, which had previously been worn by club legends such as George Best, Bryan Robson, Éric Cantona and Beckham. To escape this pressure, he had originally chosen the same shirt number as Sporting, 28. However, Ferguson insisted that his new player should wear the historic number 7 in future.

Cristiano Ronaldo (April 2006)

Ronaldo made his debut at Old Trafford on 16 August 2003, the first matchday of the 2003-04 season. Substituted after an hour at 1-0 to Bolton Wanderers, his tricky wing play quickly won over the fans and was instrumental in the 4-0 final scoreline.[22] Ronaldo scored his first Premier League goal from a free-kick against Portsmouth FC in early November. In total, he made 40 competitive appearances during his first season in England, scoring six goals. Despite his successful debut, he struggled to adapt to the English game.[23] Nevertheless, his first title was not long in coming: After the Red Devils had only finished third in the championship, they managed to triumph in the FA Cup at the end of the season. Ronaldo headed home the winner in the final against Millwall FC.[24] At the end of the season, United fans voted him “Player of the Season”.

The 2004/05 season, in which Ronaldo played 50 competitive games and scored nine goals, ended without a title win. Manchester United again finished third in the league. In the FA Cup final, Ronaldo scored in a penalty shoot-out against Arsenal, but the game was still lost.

In the 2005-06 season, Ronaldo finally emerged as a key performer for his team, which this time, although eliminated in the group stage of the Champions League, was supplemented by promising new signings in Wayne Rooney, Patrice Evra as well as Nemanja Vidić, and subsequently finished second in the league. A title win came in the form of a 4-0 victory over Wigan Athletic in the League Cup final, during which Ronaldo also scored.[25] Earlier in the season, he had scored the club’s 1000th Premier League goal.[26] By the end of the season, Ronaldo had reached double figures for the first time with twelve goals. A first notable honour was then the FIFPro Best Young Professional award, which he would successfully defend the following year.[27] He finished 20th in the 2005 FIFA World Player of the Year poll.

2006-2009: Three league titles, first Champions League triumph and world football champion

Cristiano Ronaldo (December 2006)

Although many transfer rumours arose after the 2006 World Cup as a result of the events in the match against England, and he was booed by opposing fans every time he touched the ball during the first few games after the tournament,[28] the 2006/07 season marked Ronaldo’s final breakthrough as Manchester United’s star player and one of the Premier League’s best. Ronaldo’s style of football within the team matured and his self-centred style of play gave way more and more to a good passing game.[29] In addition to this, Ronaldo became more and more goal scoring as the season progressed. The highlight of this was three league matches in the last week of December, in which he scored twice in each. As in November, he was named player of the month.[30] On the penultimate matchday, Ronaldo scored decisively to beat Manchester City, giving him and Manchester United their first league win in four years. In the Champions League, the Red Devils advanced to the semi-finals after the disappointment of the previous year. The highlight of the European Cup season was the quarter-final second leg at Old Trafford against AS Roma, which United won 7-1 thanks in part to two goals from Ronaldo.[31] After the season, Ronaldo – the league’s top scorer with 17 goals and 13 assists – was named England’s Footballer of the Year in four categories.[32][33][34] In April 2007, despite increasing rumours of a move, he signed a new five-year contract[35] a new five-year contract that made him Manchester United’s highest-paid player at the time.[36]

At the start of the 2007/08 season, Ronaldo met his former club Sporting Lisbon in the group stage of the Champions League, scoring the winning goal in both encounters and receiving a standing ovation from his former supporters in Lisbon for his demonstrative refusal to make a cheering gesture.[37] In both European club competition and the Premier League, Ronaldo has continually drawn attention with his goal-scoring prowess. In December, he finished second and third respectively in the Ballon d’Or and FIFA World Player of the Year awards.[38][39] On 12 January 2008, he scored the first hat-trick of his professional career against Newcastle United.[40] A week later, in a 2-0 win over Reading FC, he equalled his previous season’s tally with his 23rd league goal.[41] Ronaldo’s 12 goals in the final 12 games of the season – including a crucial last-day strike against Wigan Athletic – were instrumental in Manchester United’s title defence in the English Championship in May. In the Champions League, Ronaldo took his club to the final for the first time after knockout stage victories over Olympique Lyon, AS Roma and FC Barcelona. Here, he scored with his head against Chelsea FC to take the lead. Although he missed in the penalty shootout that followed, he ended up winning the most important title in European club football for the first time with Manchester United.[42] Ronaldo was subsequently voted England’s Footballer of the Year again by journalists, fellow players and fans. He also secured the title of top scorer in the Premier League with 31 goals, as well as the Golden Boot as Europe’s top goalscorer. Ronaldo was also named UEFA’s best player of the season, scoring eight goals in the Champions League. Across competitions, he had scored 42 goals in 49 games, almost equalling Denis Law’s club record from the 1963/64 season (46 competitive goals).

Cristiano Ronaldo (March 2009)

Having decided to have surgery after the European Championships due to persistent pain in his right ankle, Ronaldo was condemned to watch at the start of the 2008-09 season.[43] He returned to action in mid-September. In November, he scored two free-kicks to lead Manchester United to a 5-0 win over Stoke City, scoring his 100th competitive goal for the English club.[44] In December, he won the Ballon d’Or 2008[45] and the FIFA Club World Cup with his team. The crowning achievement came on 12 January 2009 in Zurich, when Ronaldo was named FIFA World Player of the Year.[46] In March, Ronaldo won the English League Cup final with Manchester United against Tottenham Hotspur, scoring in the match-deciding penalty shoot-out. In early April, he scored his 20th Premier League brace of the season with goals 14 and 15 in a 3-2 win over Aston Villa. In the quarter-finals of the Champions League, he sent his team through to the next round against FC Porto with a goal from over 35 yards, for which he was awarded the FIFA Puskás Award at the end of the year.[47] Ronaldo was also the match-winner in the semi-final against Arsenal, scoring twice and setting up an assist to help Manchester United reach the final of the competition, as they had done the previous year.[48] However, they lost 2-0 to FC Barcelona. In the league, Ronaldo and his side won their third consecutive English league title at the end of the season. For the season as a whole, Ronaldo rarely matched his performances of the previous season. In total, he scored 26 competitive goals, 18 of which came in the Premier League. The title of top scorer was taken away from him by Frenchman Nicolas Anelka (19) after he was given a rest by Alex Ferguson due to the upcoming Champions League final on the last matchday. After the final, Ronaldo no longer ruled out a move to Real Madrid in the summer, which had been much discussed in previous years.[49]

Real Madrid

2009-2013: Record changes, goal records and first titles under Mourinho

On 11 June 2009, Manchester United announced that they had accepted an £80 million (€94 million) offer from Real Madrid for Ronaldo.[50] This transfer fee significantly exceeded the record fee for Zinédine Zidane that had been in place until then, and caused considerable debate at the time.[51] On 25 June, Real Madrid announced the signing of the transfer contract with Manchester United.[52] It was a childhood dream come true for Ronaldo.[53] According to Alex Ferguson, he had asked for the transfer a year earlier, but was persuaded to play one more season in Manchester.[54] Ronaldo signed a six-year contract until 30 June 2015 and was officially unveiled at the Santiago Bernabéu stadium on 6 July in front of a crowd of over 80,000. This surpassed the previous record of just under 75,000 fans who had flocked to the SSC Napoli stadium in 1984 on the occasion of Diego Maradona’s introduction.[55][56] During the event, it was revealed that Ronaldo would wear the number 9 jersey for the 2009/10 season, as his preferred number 7 was reserved for club legend Rául.[57]

Cristiano Ronaldo (January 2010)

Ronaldo got off to a record start for the Madrilenians, becoming the club’s first new signing to score at least one goal in each of his first four league games.[58] In the Champions League, he scored a brace in each of his first two matches for his new club. In October, he went on an international trip with an injury to his right ankle[59] and injured his right ankle, which forced him to take a month and a half off.[60] Without Ronaldo, Real Madrid, who had won every game up to that point, won only one of their next five matches and lost the top spot in the table.[61][62] Following his injury lay-off, Ronaldo continued to add to his goal tally but was unable to prevent Real Madrid’s early elimination from two major competitions: the Spanish Cup, where they were disgraced by a third division side in the last 32 without Ronaldo, and the Champions League, where, as in the previous five years, Real Madrid failed to reach the last 16 despite Ronaldo’s early goal in the second leg of a 1-0 first leg defeat to Olympique Lyon.[63] He left the international competition as the most effective goalscorer with seven goals in six games.[64] On 5 May 2010, he scored his first hat-trick in the Primera División against RCD Mallorca. In the Spanish league, Real Madrid collected 96 points, but lost to FC Barcelona in the battle for the championship despite this club record. As a result, Ronaldo’s first season in Madrid ended without a title win despite scoring 33 goals in 35 competitive games.

Cristiano Ronaldo (2011)

In the 2010-11 season, Ronaldo – as a result of Rául’s move to FC Schalke 04 – again played with shirt number 7 under coach José Mourinho. He scored four goals in a match for the first time in his career against Racing Santander on 23 October 2010.[65] At the end of the first half of the season, he topped the Primera División scoring charts with 22 goals in 19 games.[66] He also broke another club record by cracking the 50-goal mark after 51 league games, leaving club legends such as Ferenc Puskás (54 games), Alfredo Di Stéfano (56) and Pahiño (57) behind.[67] In April 2011, Ronaldo won his first title with the Royals: In the final of the Copa del Rey, FC Barcelona was defeated; Ronaldo scored the 1-0 winning goal in extra time.[68] However, Real Madrid lost to the Catalans in the semi-finals of the Champions League and the championship. Ronaldo’s personal achievement came in mid-May when he scored two free-kicks against Villarreal FC to break the then Primera División scoring record of 38 goals, set by Zarra in 1950/51 and equalled by Hugo Sánchez in 1989/90.[69][70] In doing so, he set another club record and the league record with nine goals in three consecutive league games.[71] Over the course of the second half of the season, Ronaldo scored a total of eighteen more league goals, eleven of which came in the last four games. With a total of 41 goals in 34 league games, he won the Pichichi Trophy and became the first player in the 80-year history of the Primera División to reach the 40-goal mark.[72] He was also awarded the Golden Shoe as Europe’s top scorer for the second time.[73] No other player had ever won the award in two different leagues before. Ronaldo’s total of 53 goals in 54 competitive games also surpassed Ferenc Puskás’ 51-year-old club record of 47 goals in a season.[74] By the end of the season, he had scored 86 goals in 89 appearances for Real Madrid, including 66 goals in 63 league games. That secured him a place in the top 20 of the club’s all-time top scorers after just two seasons in Madrid.[75]

Ronaldo opened the 2011/12 season with a hat-trick against Real Zaragoza in August. He set another league record with a season-high 14 goals in five games.[76] In early November, he scored his 100th goal in his 105th competitive match for Real Madrid against Olympique Lyon in the Champions League group stage.[77] On 24 March 2012, Ronaldo scored his 100th goal in the Primera División against Real Sociedad in the 92nd game, breaking the club record of Ferenc Puskás, who had needed 105 games to score the same number of goals.[78] In the history of the Spanish league, only Isidro Lángara had been faster in this regard (82 games).[79] With a total of 46 goals in the Primera División, Ronaldo became the first player to score more than 40 goals in two consecutive La Liga seasons. He also became the first Primera División player to score at least one goal in a season against every team in the Spanish league.[80] He proved to be the “undeniable leader” of his team throughout the season[81] he was the only player in the squad to play in every league game and led the club to their first Spanish championship in three years, setting new records for points and goals.[82][83] With his goals and assists, he was involved in a total of 58 goals and, as in the previous two years, was mainly responsible for Real Madrid having the best attack in the league. With another ten goals in the Champions League, from which Real Madrid was eliminated in the semi-finals against FC Bayern Munich,[84] as well as four goals in the Spanish Cup and Super Cup, Ronaldo scored a total of 60 goals in 55 competitive games. In doing so, he bettered his own club record from the previous year.[85] In his first three years at Real Madrid, he scored 146 goals in 144 competitive matches, including 112 goals in 101 league games.[86]

Cristiano Ronaldo surrounded by RCD Espanyol Barcelona players (December 2012)

At the start of the 2012/13 season, Ronaldo won the Supercopa de España with Real Madrid against FC Barcelona, scoring a goal in both the first and second legs.[87] By also adding two goals in a 2-2 draw at Camp Nou in the league first leg, he set a new record for goals in six consecutive Clásicos.[88] While many of his team-mates failed to match their early-season performances and Real Madrid lost ground early on as a result, Ronaldo kept up his scoring rate and took on more responsibility.[89][90] With 34 goals in 34 league games, he became the first Royal player to score more than 30 goals in three league seasons.[91] On 8 May 2013, Ronaldo scored his 200th competitive goal for Real Madrid. He became the club’s sixth player to reach this mark, and with 197 competitive appearances, was faster than the club’s all-time record holder Ferenc Puskás (202 competitive appearances).[92] In the Champions League, Ronaldo scored 12 goals, a career best at the time, bettering Raúl’s club record of 10 goals[93] and became the competition’s top scorer for the second time.[94] In the round of 16, Ronaldo played against his former club Manchester United for the first time since setting the record in the summer of 2009, scoring in the first leg to draw 1-1 and in the second leg at Old Trafford to win 2-1.[95] Out of gratitude to the club and its supporters, who had given him an ovation in Manchester, he demonstratively refrained from making a jubilant gesture at both goals.[96] With Real Madrid, he was eliminated from the competition at the semi-final stage for the third time in a row. In the Copa del Rey, Ronaldo contributed to Madrid’s progress to the final: He scored a total of four goals against Celta Vigo in the round of 16 and a brace in the semi-final second leg against FC Barcelona in a 3-1 win at Camp Nou. This was the sixth successive away Clásico in which Ronaldo got on the scoresheet.[97] In the final against Atlético Madrid, Ronaldo put his side ahead. However, the game was lost 2-1 in extra time and Ronaldo was sent off for an assault just before the end of the game.[98] He finished each season’s competition with an average of one goal per game. In total, he scored 55 competitive goals and increased his Real Madrid goal tally to 201 goals in 199 matches.[99][100]

2013-2015: The Décima and two more world football titles

Cristiano Ronaldo (September 2013)

In the early stages of the 2013/14 season, Ronaldo extended his contract early by three years until 30 June 2018 on improved wages.[101] In the Champions League group stage, Ronaldo scored nine times in five appearances, setting a new record.[102] After scoring 69 goals in 59 competitive matches in the 2013 calendar year, he was named World Player of the Year for the second time in his career on January 13, 2014.[103] In April, Ronaldo won the Spanish Cup for the second time with Real Madrid by beating FC Barcelona in the final, which he missed due to injury. Injuries and a red card suspension were also the reason Ronaldo missed eight league matches during the season. Nevertheless, at the end of the season, which Real Madrid finished in third place, he became the second Spanish top scorer with 31 goals in 30 league games and was awarded the Golden Shoe as Europe’s top scorer for the third time.[104] In the knockout stages of the Champions League, Ronaldo scored four times against FC Schalke 04 in the round of 16, once against Borussia Dortmund in the quarter-finals and twice against FC Bayern Munich in the semi-finals, playing a key role in the Madrilenians’ first final appearance since 2002. In the final in Lisbon, the place where his career began, Ronaldo and Real Madrid won the “décima”, the club’s tenth Champions League title, by beating city rivals Atlético Madrid 4-1 after extra time. Ronaldo himself scored the final goal from the penalty spot, becoming the first player to score for two different winning clubs in a Champions League final.[105] With a total of 17 goals in 11 games, he broke the goalscoring records of José Altafini and Lionel Messi (14 goals each) to become the Champions League’s top scorer for the third time.[106] Ronaldo played a total of 47 competitive games during the season and scored 51 goals. This improved his statistics to a total of 252 goals in 246 appearances after five years at the club.

Cristiano Ronaldo (March 2015)

After overcoming patellar tendon problems that had caused him problems in the closing stages of pre-season and during the World Cup, Ronaldo fired his club to a UEFA Super Cup win with two goals against Sevilla FC at the start of the 2014/15 season. In the league, Ronaldo reached the 20-goal mark on matchday 12 earlier than any player before.[107] He also set a new club record with goals in ten consecutive matchdays.[108][109] On 6 December 2014, Ronaldo scored his 23rd hat-trick in his 178th game, as well as his 200th goal in the Primera División. In doing so, he broke the league record for most three-pointers by Zarra and Alfredo Di Stéfano (22)[110] and became the ninth player in the league to score 200 goals. This had taken him over 40 games fewer than the previous record holder Zarra (219 games).[111] Just before the turn of the year, Ronaldo won the FIFA Club World Cup with Real Madrid. At that point, he had set a new club record with his side, winning 22 consecutive competitive games. On 12 January 2015, he was named World Footballer of the Year for the third time.[112] In the new year, however, Real Madrid saw a significant drop in performance. Ronaldo’s form curve also showed a downward trend, although his goals kept the team in the race for the championship and Champions League for a long time. On 5 April 2015, he scored five goals in a game for the first time in his career in a 9-1 win over Granada FC.[113] Three days later, he marked his 300th competitive goal for Real Madrid in his 288th game. Although he had not won any other club titles at the end of the season, he went on to register further personal accolades and records: with a total of 61 goals in 54 competitive games, including 48 goals in 35 league appearances, he bettered his club records from the 2011/12 season, won the Pichichi Trophy for the third time and became the first player to win the Golden Boot for the fourth time.[114] He also became the first player in the five major European leagues to score at least 30 league goals or 50 competitive goals in five consecutive seasons[115] or 50 competitive goals in five consecutive seasons.[116] With 225 goals in 200 league games and 313 goals in 300 competitive games, he was within a few goals of Madrid’s record goalscorer Raúl at the end of the season after six years at the club.[114]

2015-2018: Record goalscoring, Champions League hat-trick and fifth world football title

Cristiano Ronaldo (March 2016)

On matchday three of the 2015/16 season, Ronaldo scored five goals in a match for the second time in his career in a 6-0 win over Espanyol Barcelona. In doing so, he replaced Raúl (228 goals in 550 games) as the club’s top league goalscorer with 230 goals in 203 games.[117] Three days later, another hat-trick in a 4-0 win over Shakhtar Donetsk on the opening day of the Champions League group stage saw him take the lead in the all-time Champions League scoring charts with 80 goals, ahead of Lionel Messi, who had 77 at the time.[118] Ronaldo scored both goals in a 2-0 win over Malmo FF on the second day of the group stage and broke two more club records: with 67 Champions League goals in 65 games, he replaced Raúl as the all-time European Cup top scorer (66 goals in 132 games). In addition, he set the latter’s must-play goals record with 323 goals in 308 games (323 goals in 741 games).[119] On 5 March 2016, Ronaldo scored four goals against Celta Vigo, becoming the first player in the Primera División to reach 30 hat-tricks and the third player after Zarra and Lionel Messi to reach the 250-goal mark. With 228 games needed for this, he was significantly faster than Zarra (272 games) and Messi (285). In the league, Real Madrid ended the season in second place with 35 Ronaldo goals in 36 games, one point behind FC Barcelona. The highlights of the season were once again the European Cup, with Ronaldo setting a new record in the group stage with eleven goals in six games.[120] In the round of 16, he scored in the first and second legs against AS Roma, and in the quarter-finals, after a 2-0 defeat in the first leg, he scored a hat-trick in a 3-0 second leg win to send his side into the semi-finals against VfL Wolfsburg. Real Madrid won the final, as they had two years earlier against city rivals Atlético, after Ronaldo converted decisively in the penalty shootout. His 16 goals in 12 games made him the competition’s top scorer for the fourth successive season and fifth time overall.[121] A further 51 goals in 48 competitive games took his tally to 364 goals in 348 appearances for Real Madrid at the end of the season.

Due to the injury suffered in the European Championship final, Ronaldo missed three competitive matches at the start of the 2016/17 season, including the 3-2 extra-time win over Sevilla FC in the UEFA Super Cup.[122] On 7 November 2016, he prematurely extended his contract at Real Madrid by three years until June 2021.[123] On 19 November, Ronaldo scored all the goals in a 3-0 away win over Atlético Madrid, replacing Alfredo Di Stéfano as the Derbi madrileño’s record goalscorer.[124] In December, Ronaldo scored his 40th hat-trick for Real Madrid in the FIFA Club World Cup final and was named the tournament’s top scorer and player of the tournament after winning the title.[125] He was also named World Player of the Year for the fourth time.[126][127] During the season, a change in Ronaldo’s mentality became apparent: previously known for always wanting to play in all competitive matches, he was now regularly rotated out of the squad by coach Zinédine Zidane in league matches against weaker teams.[128] With 29 league games, he made as few appearances as he last did in the 2009/10 season and clearly lost the duel for the Pichichi trophy with 25 goals to Messi (37). On the other hand, the voluntary breaks towards the end of the season meant he was in the best shape in years[129] in the Champions League knockout rounds, Ronaldo’s opponents also felt the effects of his form, as he scored a brace in a 2-1 first-leg win against FC Bayern München in the quarter-finals to become the first player to reach 100 goals in UEFA club competitions[130] and, with a hat-trick in the 4-2 second leg win, also became the first player to reach 100 goals in the Champions League.[131] In the semi-final first leg against Atlético Madrid, Ronaldo scored another hat-trick in a 3-0 win and also scored his 400th competitive goal for Real Madrid in his 389th game.[132] In the final against Juventus Turin, Real Madrid became the first club in the Champions League era to defend their title. Ronaldo himself contributed two goals in the 4-1 win and was named Player of the Match, as well as becoming the first goalscorer in three finals of the competition since Alfredo Di Stéfano. He was the competition’s top scorer for the fifth successive season and sixth time overall with a total of 12 goals, ten of which came from the quarter-finals onwards.[133] His 42 goals in 46 competitive matches took his tally at the end of the season to 406 goals in 394 games for Real Madrid.

Ronaldo in the 2018 Champions League final

At the start of the 2017/18 season, Ronaldo won the Spanish Super Cup for the second time against FC Barcelona. In the Champions League group stage, he became the first player to score at least one goal in every group match.[134] On 16 December 2017, he scored the winning 1-0 goal from a free kick against Grêmio Porto Alegre in the FIFA Club World Cup final, winning this title for the fourth time.[135] For his achievements in the 2017 calendar year, he was named World Footballer of the Year for the fifth time.[136][137] On 3 March 2018, he became the second Primera División player after Lionel Messi to reach the 300-goal mark in his 286th league game, taking 48 fewer games than the Argentine to do so.[138] In the league, the Madrilenians already lost ground to FC Barcelona in the first half of the season. As in the previous year, Ronaldo was regularly rotated out of the squad by Zidane against teams in the lower third of the table. He scored a total of 26 league goals in 27 games. In the last 16 and quarter-finals of the Champions League, Ronaldo scored in the first and second legs against Paris Saint-Germain and Juventus Turin respectively, equalling Ruud van Nistelrooy’s record of 9 goals in 11 consecutive games, set in 2002/03.[139] As part of that record-breaking run, Ronaldo scored his 100th goal against Paris in his 95th Champions League appearance for Real Madrid.[140] After a 3-1 win in the final against Liverpool FC, he won the Champions League with Real Madrid for the third time in a row and the fourth time in five years. In the process, he became the competition’s top scorer for the sixth consecutive season and seventh time overall with 15 goals in 13 games.[141] With a season average of one goal per game and 44 goals in total, Ronaldo stood at 450 goals in 438 competitive games for Real Madrid at the end of the season. By winning the Champions League for the fifth time in his career, he became the record holder of the competition’s title since it was renamed in 1992.[142] Immediately after winning the final, he sparked speculation about a move to another club in an interview, stating that he had enjoyed his time at Real Madrid.[143]

Juventus Torino

Ronaldo in Juventus Turin shirt (2019)

For the 2018/19 season, Ronaldo moved to Juventus Turin in the Italian Serie A at the age of 33. He signed a contract running until 30 June 2022, costing a €100 million transfer fee plus “additional costs” of €12 million and training compensation to his youth clubs.[144] The transfer fee represented the seventh-highest to date, as well as the highest for a player older than 30, and the highest ever paid by an Italian club. In an official farewell letter, Ronaldo said it was time to move on to a new phase of his life, which is why he asked Real Madrid to agree to the transfer.[145] He later added that he no longer felt he was indispensable to the club, and specifically to club president Florentino Pérez.[146]

While Real Madrid had significantly lower crowds at the start of the season,[147] at one point going more than eight consecutive hours without scoring,[148] and ultimately scored fewer goals than at any time since Ronaldo’s arrival[149] and with three months to go before the end of the season, they had lost all hope of winning the title,[150] ronaldo scored ten goals in his first 14 league games, more than any Juventus newcomer since John Charles in 1957/58.[151] In mid-September, he became the fifth footballer after Josef Bican, Ferenc Puskás, Jimmy McGrory and Uwe Seeler to reach 400 first-team goals in Europe[152][153] and at the end of November became the first player to reach 100 Champions League wins.[154] In January 2019, he scored the 1-0 winning goal against AC Milan in the Supercoppa Italiana match to celebrate his first title win with Juventus. In the knockout stages of the Champions League, Ronaldo scored all five of his side’s goals, including a hat-trick to win 3-0 in the round of 16 second leg against Atlético Madrid, which secured Juventus’ progress despite a 2-0 first leg defeat,[155] as well as a headed goal in each of the two quarter-final matches against Ajax Amsterdam, which were lost by a combined score of 2-3.[156] On 20 April 2019, he won the Italian championship early with Juventus five matchdays before the end of the season.[157] With 21 goals in 31 league games, he was named Serie A’s Most Valuable Player and Italy’s Footballer of the Year.[158][159] Ronaldo was the first footballer to win championship titles in England, Spain and Italy[160] and to date is the only player to have been named Footballer of the Year in said three countries.[161]

For the 2019/20 season, Juventus replaced coach Massimiliano Allegri with Maurizio Sarri. Ronaldo finally acclimatised to the Italian league style of play, and in February 2020 set a new club record and league record with goals in eleven consecutive Serie A appearances.[162][163] From early March to mid-May, play was suspended due to the COVID-19 pandemic. On the third last matchday, Ronaldo won his second league title early with Juventus.[164] With 31 Serie A goals, he equalled Felice Borel’s club record from the 1933-34 season. He also became the first footballer to score 30 goals in a season and 50 league goals in the Premier League, Primera División and Serie A respectively.[165] In the knockout stages of the Champions League, Ronaldo scored all of his side’s goals, as in the previous year, but Juventus were eliminated in the round of 16 due to the away goals rule, despite his brace in the 2-1 second leg win over Olympique Lyon. Ronaldo’s 37 competitive goals in a season beat Ferenc Hirzer’s club record of 35, set in 1925-16.[166]

In October 2020, it was announced that Ronaldo had tested positive for the SARS-CoV-2 virus. He subsequently went into quarantine. At the time of testing positive, Ronaldo was staying with the Portuguese national team.[167] After missing four matches for Juventus Turin, including the first leg against FC Barcelona in the Champions League, Ronaldo tested negative for the SARS-CoV-2 virus on 30 October 2020 and was able to return to training from then on.[168] In the CL group match on 2 December 2020 with Juve against Dynamo Kiev (3-0), the Portuguese scored his 750th competitive goal to make it 2-0 in the 57th minute.[169]

In the national team

2001-2006: Junior level and early international career

Cristiano Ronaldo in the national jersey (2010)

Cristiano Ronaldo has played for his country’s junior national teams. In 2002, he played for Portugal’s U17 team in the U17 European Championship. He was also part of the U20 and U21 national teams, winning the Toulon tournament with the latter in the summer of 2003. On 20 August 2003, Ronaldo made his senior debut as a second-half substitute against Kazakhstan. He was subsequently named in the squad for the 2004 European Championship on home soil by national team coach Luiz Felipe Scolari. Ronaldo was the youngest player in the squad, joining Portugal’s ageing ‘golden generation’, and over the course of the tournament he earned a regular place alongside Luis Figo in midfield. He scored in both the opening 2-1 defeat to Greece and the 2-1 semi-final win over the Netherlands. In the final, Portugal lost 1-0 to opening opponents Greece and missed out on the first major title in the federation’s history. Ronaldo, however, had played his way into the “Team of the Tournament” with his performances. He went on to play at the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens, where he scored against Iraq (2-4) and Morocco (2-1), but despite scoring against the North Africans, he and his team were eliminated in the preliminary round after another 4-2 defeat to Costa Rica.

During the 2006 World Cup qualifying campaign in Germany, Ronaldo emerged as a key player for the Seleção, and was the fourth highest scorer in the UEFA zone with seven goals. In the World Cup itself, he scored his first World Cup final goal from the penalty spot against Iran.[170] He went off injured in the round of 16 against the Netherlands after a challenge on Khalid Boulahrouz, but returned in the 1-0 win over England in the last eight.[171] There he converted decisively in the penalty shoot-out[172] and took his team through to the semi-finals after Portugal had been outnumbered due to a red card for Ronaldo’s United team-mate Wayne Rooney. The suspension was particularly explosive as Ronaldo was adjudged to have behaved unsportingly after Rooney’s assault on Ricardo Carvalho for allegedly interfering with the referee.[173] Although referee Horacio Elizondo cleared Ronaldo of that charge[174] and Rooney had already spoken to Ronaldo in the catacombs immediately after the match,[175] the incident led to a months-long smear campaign in the British tabloids.[176] Ronaldo finished the World Cup itself in fourth place after two defeats to France (0-1) and Germany (1-3). This was the greatest success in the history of the Portuguese national team after the third place in the 1966 World Cup. Based on his performances, Ronaldo was considered a favourite to be voted the best young player of the tournament. Again, the incident in the match against England had a negative impact on his chances of being selected: The FIFA committee, led by Germany’s Holger Osieck, deemed “decent behaviour” to be an elementary criterion in the decision-making process and awarded the prize to Lukas Podolski.[177]

2006-2012: assumption of the captaincy

After the World Cup, the last two great players of the “Golden Generation”, Luís Figo and Pauleta, announced their retirement from the national team. Ronaldo was then one of the last remaining stars in the team, alongside much older players such as Deco and Nuno Gomes. On 6 February 2007, the day after his 22nd birthday, he captained Portugal for the first time. The occasion was a friendly match against Brazil. In appointing him, Portugal coach Scolari was responding to an explicit request from the president of the Portuguese Football Federation, Carlos Silva, who had died two days earlier. Ronaldo was still too young to take over the captaincy permanently, however, according to Scolari. Ronaldo again contributed a total of eight goals to Portugal’s success in qualifying for Euro 2008. During the tournament, Portugal qualified for the quarter-finals as group winners. However, the Portuguese lost 3-2 to Germany and had to go home early. Ronaldo scored his only goal of the tournament in the group match against the Czech Republic.

Ronaldo at the Euro 2012

After the European Championship, Ronaldo was appointed team captain by Portugal’s new national coach, Carlos Queiroz, to lead the Portuguese to the 2010 World Cup. However, after mixed qualifying games, Portugal struggled to reach a relegation place. In the deciding games against Bosnia-Herzegovina, Ronaldo was ruled out due to injury. He rarely showed his class during the tournament. His only goal of the tournament came in a 7-0 thrashing of North Korea. Ronaldo was named FIFA Player of the Match after each of his three group matches. In the round of 16, Portugal lost 1-0 to eventual tournament winners Spain. Ronaldo was then subjected to harsh criticism in the media.[178]

Portugal started the 2012 European Championship qualifiers without Ronaldo, who was suffering from an ankle injury, with a draw against Cyprus and a loss to Norway, after which Carlos Queiroz was sacked.[179] Under new coach Paulo Bento, Ronaldo went on to play in all of Portugal’s remaining qualifiers, scoring five goals in six games to help them secure a place in the relegation play-offs despite their poor start. In the decider – again against Bosnia-Herzegovina – Ronaldo scored twice to lead his side to a 6-2 win in the return leg after a goalless first leg and a place in the European Championship.[180] During the tournament, Ronaldo failed to live up to expectations in the first two group games and was heavily criticised by the media.[181] However, he then made his mark on the tournament with two man-of-the-match performances:[182] In the final group game, he led his side to a 2-1 win over the Netherlands with two goals,[183] in the quarter-finals, he scored the decisive goal in a 1-0 win over the Czech Republic.[184] In the semi-finals, Portugal were eliminated on penalties by Spain and missed out on a second European Championship final appearance since 2004. Ronaldo was the top scorer at the European Championship with his three goals, along with five other players, and was named in the “Team of the Tournament” as in 2004.

2012-2016: Record goalscorer, record national player and European champion

Cristiano Ronaldo in a duel with Luka Modrić (2013)

In the 2014 World Cup qualifiers, on 16 October 2012, Ronaldo became the third Portuguese to play his 100th international match, after Fernando Couto and Luís Figo, and the third youngest European at the time, after Lukas Podolski and Kristen Viikmäe.[185] On 6 September 2013, he scored his first hat-trick in a national shirt in a 4-2 win over Northern Ireland in a World Cup qualifier after trailing 2-1.[186] After missing out on direct qualification, Portugal beat Sweden 4-2 on aggregate in the relegation play-offs. Ronaldo scored all four of his country’s goals, including another hat-trick in the second leg. With 47 international goals, he overtook Portugal’s record goalscorer Pauleta to become the first Portuguese to qualify for the World Cup for the third time.[187] Although Ronaldo’s participation in the final tournament was long in jeopardy due to tendonitis and a muscle injury in his left leg,[188] he ultimately played all of his preliminary round matches with an injury.[189] His performances fell short of public expectations. Only in the final group game did he score his 50th international goal in a 2-1 win over Ghana and was named Man of the Match. With goals in six consecutive World and European Championships, he equalled Jürgen Klinsmann’s record.[190] However, Portugal were eliminated after the preliminary round for the first time since 2002 on goal difference.

Ronaldo in the Euro 2016 quarter-finals against Poland

Portugal’s start to their Euro 2016 qualifying campaign resembled that of four years earlier, losing their opening match against Albania 1-0 in front of their home crowd without the ailing Ronaldo, and national team coach Paulo Bento was subsequently replaced by Fernando Santos. Ronaldo scored the winning goals in the following two qualifiers against Denmark and Armenia, both 1-0 victories. With a total of 23 goals in European Championship qualifiers and finals, he broke the record held by Hakan Şükür and Jon Dahl Tomasson (22).[191][192] After the successful qualification, the European Championship started soberingly. The Portuguese did not manage a win in the group stage. A 1-1 draw in their opening game against Iceland was followed by a goalless draw against Austria, with Ronaldo missing a penalty and replacing Luís Figo as the record international with his 128th international appearance. In the final group game, he finally saved his side from elimination with two goals in a 3-3 draw with Hungary. The new tournament format meant that third place in the group was enough for the Portuguese to qualify for the knockout rounds. They followed that up with a 1-0 extra-time win over Croatia in the round of 16, with Ronaldo’s 117th-minute saved shot becoming the assist for the winning goal by Ricardo Quaresma. Portugal won their quarter-final against Poland on penalties, with Ronaldo also scoring from the spot. In the 2-0 semi-final win over Wales, Ronaldo set the tone for a second final appearance since 2004 with a goal and an assist.[193] In the final against France, however, he suffered a knee injury after just eight minutes when Dimitri Payet struck his supporting leg at knee level with great force. Despite two breaks for treatment, he had to be substituted in the 25th minute. As the game went into extra time, Ronaldo returned to the bench and acted as a motivator alongside national team coach Santos. Portugal ultimately won the game through an Éder goal, and with it their first major international title.[194] With a total of nine goals in 21 European Championship appearances, Ronaldo had equalled Michel Platini’s goalscoring record during the tournament and replaced Edwin van der Sar and Lilian Thuram (16 appearances each) as the record European Championship players.[195][196]

2016-today: Won the Nations League and scored 100th international goal

Cristiano Ronaldo at the Confed Cup 2017

As a result of winning the European Championship, Ronaldo participated in the FIFA Confederations Cup in June 2017, finishing third with Portugal. However, due to the birth of his twins, he returned home before the third-place match.[197]

In the 2018 World Cup qualifiers, Ronaldo missed the opening match once again, losing 2-0 to Switzerland. In the remaining nine qualifying matches, Ronaldo contributed as the UEFA zone’s top scorer with 15 goals and three assists, but Portugal still qualified directly for the final tournament. He scored all of his team’s goals in the first group game of the World Cup, a 3-3 draw with Spain. Ronaldo became the fourth player after Pele, Uwe Seeler and Miroslav Klose to score in four World Cup finals.[198] He scored the 1-0 winner against Morocco in the second group game to replace Ferenc Puskás as Europe’s record goalscorer with 85 caps.[199] He missed a penalty in the final group game against Iran, but still helped Portugal qualify for the last 16. There he was eliminated after a 2-1 defeat by Uruguay. Despite the early exit, he was one of the tournament’s top scorers with four goals.[200]

After the World Cup, Ronaldo opted not to participate in the group matches of the newly-introduced UEFA Nations League and did not play in any international matches until the end of the year. After returning to the squad in March 2019 for the first qualifiers for Euro 2021, he took part in the final round of the Nations League in June 2019, which was played in Portugal. In the process, he scored all three goals in a 3-1 win over Switzerland in the semi-finals and celebrated Portugal’s second title win after a 1-0 victory over the Netherlands in the final.[201]

In November 2019, Portugal successfully qualified for the 2021 European Championship finals after eleven Ronaldo goals in eight qualifying matches. On 8 September 2020, Ronaldo scored his 100th international goal from a free-kick in his 165th appearance for Portugal, a 2020/21 UEFA Nations League group match against Sweden.[202] He also followed that up with his 101st goal in the same match. He joins Ali Daei as the only players to have scored more than 100 international goals.[203]

Titles and awards

Statue of Ronaldo in Funchal

As a national player

  • European Champion (1): 2016
  • Nations League Winner (1): 2019

As a club player

  • Champions League winners (5): 2008, 2014, 2016, 2017, 2018
  • UEFA Super Cup winners (3): 2014, 2016, 2017
  • Club World Champion (4): 2008, 2014, 2016, 2017
  • Portuguese Super Cup Winner (1): 2002
  • English champion (3): 2007, 2008, 2009
  • English Cup Winner (1): 2004
  • English League Cup Winner (2): 2006, 2009
  • English Super Cup Winner (2): 2007, 2008
  • Spanish champion (2): 2012, 2017
  • Spanish Cup Winner (2): 2011, 2014
  • Spanish Super Cup Winner (2): 2012, 2017
  • Italian champion (2): 2019, 2020
  • Italian Super Cup winners (2): 2018, 2020

Personal awards

Cristiano Ronaldo with the FIFA Ballon d’Or (January 2015)

  • World Footballer of the Year (5): 2008, 2013, 2014, 2016, 2017
  • European Footballer of the Year (3): 2014, 2016, 2017
  • England’s Footballer of the Year (2): 2007, 2008
  • Spain’s Footballer of the Year (4): 2012, 2013, 2014, 2016 (Marca)
  • Italy’s footballer of the year (2): 2019, 2020
  • FPF Portugal’s Footballer of the Year (4): 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019
  • CNID Portugal’s footballer of the year abroad (10): 2007, 2008, 2009, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018
  • FPF Portugal’s Footballer of the Century (1): 2015[204]
  • Premier League Player of the Season (2): 2006/07, 2007/08
  • Premier League Player of the Month (4): November 2006, December 2006, January 2008, March 2008
  • Serie A Player of the Season (1): 2018/19
  • Serie A Player of the Month (2): January 2020, November 2020
  • UEFA Footballer of the Year (1): 2008
  • UEFA Striker of the Year (3): 2008, 2017, 2018
  • Election to the Ballon d’Or Dream Team
  • Election to the FIFA FIFPro World XI (14): 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020
  • Elected to the UEFA Team of the Year (15): 2004, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020
  • Elected to the PFA Team of the Year (4): 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009
  • Elected to the UEFA European Championship All-Star Team (3): 2004, 2012, 2016
  • FIFA Club World Cup Golden Ball (1): 2016
  • FIFPro World Player of the Year (1): 2008
  • FIFPro Young Player Fan Award (2): 2005, 2006
  • World Soccer Player of the Year (5): 2008, 2013, 2014, 2016, 2017
  • Sir Matt Busby Player of the Year (3): 2004, 2007, 2008
  • Trofeo Bravo (1): 2004
  • Onze d’Or (2): 2008, 2017
  • FIFA Puskás Award (1): 2009
  • BBC World Sportsman of the Year (1): 2014
  • PAP European Sportsman of the Year (2): 2016, 2017
  • UEPS European Sportsman of the Year (1): 2016

Top scorer

  • FIFA Club World Cup (2): 2016, 2017
  • UEFA Champions League (7): 2008, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018
  • Premier League (1): 2008
  • Primera División (3): 2011, 2014, 2015
  • UEFA Golden Shoe (4): 2008, 2011, 2014, 2015
  • UEFA Nations League Finals (1): 2019
  • European Championship Silver Shoe (1): 2016

Record scorer

  • European Championship (together with Michel Platini, 9 goals each)
  • UEFA Champions League (134 goals)
  • FIFA Club World Cup (7 goals)
  • Portugal national team (103 goals)
  • Real Madrid (450 goals)


  • PRT Order of Prince Henry - Officer BAR.png Officer of the Order of the Infante Dom Henrique (2004)
  • PRT Ordem de Nossa Senhora da Conceicao de Vila Vicosa Cavaleiro ribbon.svg Medal of Merit of the Order of Our Lady (2006)
  • PRT Order of Prince Henry - Grand Officer BAR.png Grand Officer of the Order of the Infante Dom Henrique (2014)
  • POR Ordem do Merito Comendador BAR.svg Commander of the Order of Merit (2016)

How to play

Ronaldo is a versatile attacking player who can be deployed on either the left or right wing or in the attacking centre. He is ambidextrous, achieving roughly equal shot accuracy and hardness with both feet, and is one of the fastest footballers in the world, both with and without the ball.[205] Tactically, Ronaldo has undergone several developments throughout his career. At Sporting Lisbon and in his first season at Manchester United, he was usually deployed as a traditional right midfielder, where he predominantly featured as a provider of crosses and assists. In this position, he used his pace, agility, and technique to take on opponents in one-on-one situations. Ronaldo became particularly well known for his trickery and dribbling. In addition to his trademark multiple step-overs, he acquired a wide repertoire of attacking tricks and feints.[206]

At Manchester United, Ronaldo developed a muscular physique that makes him easier to hold onto balls. His above-average leaping ability, combined with his height and timing, often gives him advantages in aerial and headed duels. This makes Ronaldo a goal-scoring recipient of high crosses into the penalty area, as evidenced by over 100 headed goals in his career.[207] Coupled with his improved stamina, Ronaldo’s scoring threat increased dramatically when he moved to the left wing and was given the positional freedom to move towards the centre of attack to complete his team’s attacking moves. He also increasingly moved into a creative role thanks to his good vision and accurate passing.

Ronaldo before taking a free kick (March 2009)

In his final years at Manchester United, Ronaldo played even more offensively and centrally. Particularly in his final season, he was often used as the lone striker or part of a double forward, depending on the tactical alignment. He has developed into a prolific goalscorer in Manchester, with a powerful and accurate shot from outside the box as well as inside the 16-yard area, and a penalty-taker and set-piece specialist. He has scored over 50 free-kick goals to date, often making use of a special shooting technique that involves using a high topspin to cause the ball to drop abruptly.[208] However, his success rate at free kicks deteriorated significantly late in his career.[209] His ritual of taking a wide-legged cowboy pose before taking free kicks became one of his trademarks.[206]

After his move to Real Madrid, Ronaldo became even more attacking and his creative and defensive duties more manageable. He was mostly deployed in a two-man forward by Manuel Pellegrini, but was moved back to the left wing by José Mourinho. From there, he could drift into the middle at will to pick off crosses and score goals, or pull defenders offside to create space for teammates in the box. With Madrid’s counter-attacking style, Ronaldo became even more efficient and consistent, as evidenced by numerous goalscoring records. His unique role has been described by pundits as that of a ‘false’ winger, as Ronaldo’s runs into the penalty area at times were in the style of a centre-forward, although he actually played on the left wing.[210] In exceptional tactical cases, Ronaldo was also used as a push forward, for example in the 2011 Spanish Cup final. From 2013 onwards, Ronaldo adapted his style – first under Carlo Ancelotti and later under Zinédine Zidane – to the physical consequences of ageing: His effective dribbles and power-sapping tempo runs became rarer, his game more effective.[211] As a result, he now appears mainly as a penalty area striker, scoring the majority of his goals from inside the 16-yard area, usually with only a few touches of the ball.[212][213] He has been praised in the media for his intelligent positioning, opportunism and ability to shake off opponents, create space in the box and score with few touches.[214][215]

At Juventus Turin, Ronaldo took on different attacking roles under Massimiliano Allegri, depending on the tactical alignment. At times, he played as the lone striker in a 4-2-3-1 formation or on the left wing in a 4-3-3 system. He also occasionally formed an attacking duo with a teammate in a 4-3-1-2, 4-4-2 or 3-5-2 formation. In these roles, he not only scored goals himself, but also got involved in more one-on-one duels and created more chances for teammates than in his last few years at Real Madrid.[216]

During his time in England, and occasionally in Spain, Ronaldo was said to have a penchant for “swallowing”, the faking of an opponent’s foul through theatrical behaviour.[217][218] His sometimes cocky and egotistical style of play at the start of his career also earned him occasional criticism from coach Alex Ferguson.[219] He has also been accused of arrogance because of his facial expressions and gestures on the pitch.[220] Fellow players, coaches and journalists have pointed out that this has contributed to a false image of his personality.[221][222] Interviews such as the one in 2011, in which Ronaldo justified whistles against him by saying that he was rich, good-looking and a great player, thus causing envy, he described in retrospect in 2014 as a mistake and the result of a lack of maturity.[223] Ronaldo is known for his eagerness to train, his leadership qualities and his will to win.[224] For example, after being substituted due to injury in the victorious 2016 European Championship final, he stood on the sidelines until the end, giving commands and arguing with the fourth official.[225] Thanks to his mental strength, he achieves top form especially in important matches and high-pressure situations.[226] His successes and records in three European leagues and with the national team are testament to his adaptability and constant search for new challenges.[227]



CR7 Museum and Hotel in July 2016 in Funchal, Madeira

Ronaldo signed numerous advertising contracts throughout his career, representing Banco Espírito Santo, Castrol, Clear Shampoo, Coca-Cola, DAZN, EA Sports, Emirates, Emporio Armani, Grupo Bimbo, Herbalife, Hot, KFC, Konami, MEO, Motorola, Nike, Pepe Jeans, Samsung, SFR, Suzuki, TAG Heuer, Toyota, Türk Telekom and Wey, among others.[228] Ronaldo engages in extensive self-marketing and personal branding. What began in 2006 as a fashion label “CR7” – a numeronym composed of his initials and his shirt number[229] – with a family connection, he expanded it into a Union brand registered in the EU.[230] With this he pursues a high-price strategy, positioning it in the upper luxury market segment while also giving it a national connection to its home country with “100% made in Portugal”.[231] In addition to his fashion line and perfume series, Ronaldo invested around 37 million euros in the construction of four hotels in Funchal, Lisbon, Madrid and New York as part of a joint venture with the Portuguese hotel chain Pestana at the end of 2015.[232][233] The hotels in Funchal and Lisbon opened in July and October 2016 respectively.[234] Meanwhile, two more hotels are planned in Paris and Marrakech. In March 2019, the Insparya Global Hair Medical Clinic S.L. opened. , in which Ronaldo holds a 50% stake, opened a hair transplant clinic in Madrid.[235] With over 340 million followers on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, he is by far the most popular athlete on social media.[236] “Ronaldo has become a brand that can be sold and he markets it by scoring goals.”[237]

In October 2007, Ronaldo published the book Moments about the highlights of his career so far.[238] In late 2013, he opened his own museum in his hometown of Funchal.[239] In November 2015, the documentary Ronaldo was released in cinemas, for which the footballer had been followed for a year by director Anthony Wonke.[240] After winning the European Championship with Portugal, the President of the Autonomous Region of Madeira announced on 23 July 2016, at the opening of Ronaldo’s hotel in Funchal, that Madeira Airport would be renamed Aeroporto da Madeira Cristiano Ronaldo.[241] The renaming ceremony took place on 29 March 2017.[242]

Social commitment

When television pictures of a child in Aceh who had survived the disaster wearing a Portugal jersey went around the world after the 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake, Ronaldo visited Indonesia in 2005, soliciting donations and sponsoring the boy.[243] Ronaldo later became involved in the protection of mangrove forests in Bali as an ambassador for the Mangrove Care Forum alongside Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono.[244] Since January 2013, Ronaldo has served as a global ambassador for the children’s rights organization Save the Children.[245] Since October 2015, he has also been a testimonial for pharmaceutical company Abbott’s #BeThe1Donor campaign, which aims to encourage young people to donate blood regularly.[246] Ronaldo is among the most charitable sportsmen.[222][247] After his 2016 Champions League triumph, he donated his €600,000 win bonus to charity.[248] In October 2017, he sold his 2013 FIFA Ballon d’Or trophy at auction in London, donating the £600,000 proceeds to the Make-A-Wish Foundation, which aims to grant the heartfelt wishes of seriously ill children.[249]

Tax evasion

On 13 June 2017, the Madrid Public Prosecutor’s Office brought charges against Ronaldo, accusing him of using a network of companies in Ireland and the British Virgin Islands to conceal advertising money from the tax authorities between 2011 and 2014, thus evading taxes of €14.7 million.[250] Der Spiegel had previously discovered this together with the research network European Investigative Collaborations as part of the Football Leaks.[251] Ronaldo’s management denied the allegations and said there had been no intention to defraud or conceal.[252] The corporate web had existed since Ronaldo’s time at Manchester United. The deals had been known to the British and Spanish authorities.[253] In late July 2018, it was reported that Ronaldo had settled with Spanish prosecutors and pleaded guilty to four tax offences. According to the report, the original charge of tax evasion amounting to €14.7 million was reduced to €5.7 million. As a result, Ronaldo had to pay 18.8 million euros in back taxes and received an almost two-year suspended prison sentence (23 months and 30 days). In Spain, prison sentences of less than two years are usually suspended.[254][255][256]

Rape allegation

In June 2017, Der Spiegel magazine reported on a 2009 rape allegation against Ronaldo in Las Vegas, based on documents obtained by Football Leaks. In the process, an out-of-court settlement had been reached in 2010, in the course of which the American Kathryn Mayorga was obliged to remain silent in return for a payment of 375,000 dollars.[257] In September 2018, a first-time interview with the woman made it public that her lawyer was challenging this settlement in a civil lawsuit in the US state of Nevada.[258][259] On September 27, the Nevada district court accepted the 32-page complaint.[260] On October 1, 2018, the Las Vegas Police Department announced it was reopening an investigation after being notified of the case back in June 2009. The investigation at the time had been temporarily closed because police had not received information about the location or specific individuals.[261][262] Ronaldo denies the rape allegation. The sex had been consensual, he said.[263] On July 22, 2019, the Clark County District Attorney’s Office in the U.S. state of Nevada announced that no charges would be filed because based on a review of the information given, the allegations of sexual assault could not be proven beyond a reasonable doubt.[264] The civil suit remains pending.[265] Mayorga’s attorneys are seeking payment of at least another $200,000 and a public trial.[266] In February 2020, the Magistrate Judge assigned to the case determined that none of the plaintiff’s arguments warranted voiding the out-of-court settlement and recommended that only confidential arbitration take place.[267][268]


Ronaldo was the highest-paid athlete in the world in 2016, earning around $88 million.[269] His total net worth was estimated at $400 million in June 2018.[270] Estimates in 2021 put Ronaldo’s net worth at €430 million.[271]


  • Markus Alexander: Cristiano Ronaldo – Der neue Fußballgott. Baltic Sea Press, Rostock 2009, ISBN 978-3-942129-05-3.
  • Luca Caioli: Ronaldo. The story of an obsessed man. Verlag Die Werkstatt, Göttingen 2013, ISBN 978-3-7307-0002-0.
  • Santiago Siguero: Cristiano Ronaldo – La Estrella Tenaz. Al Poste Ediciones, Madrid 2013; ISBN 84-15726-06-6 (Spanish).
  • Cristiano Ronaldo in the Munzinger archives (article freely available)

Web links

Commons: Cristiano Ronaldo– Collection of images

Notes and individual references


  1. First name: Cristiano Ronaldo, Last name: dos Santos Aveiro.

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