PROFILE: CRISTIANO RONALDO
Full Name: Cristiano Ronaldo dos Santos Aveiro
Birth date: February 5, 1985
Birthplace: Funchal, Madeira, Portugal
Playing position: Left/right winger, striker
First club: Sporting Lisbon
Career debut: 1999 vs Moreirense
Current club: Manchester United
International team: Portugal
International debut: August 20, 2003 vs Kazakhstan
Cristiano Ronaldo started playing competitive football at 8-year-old for amateur club Andorinha, and then for local team CD Nacional when he was 10. He then move to one of Portugal’s largest football clubs, Sporting Lisbon in 1996.
Ronaldo trained in the youth team before playing his first senior game for Sporting in 1999 against Moreirense, and scored a double on his debut.
Ronaldo played for Portugal’s youth side in the UEFA U-17 Championships and drew attention internationally. Liverpool under manager Gérard Houllier back then was reported to have interest in signing Ronaldo, but it was Manchester United that made the move in 2003 to fill the void of departed David Beckham.
Ronaldo’s signature came after Sporting Lisbon beat Manchester United 3–1 in a friendly; on the way back to England the United players spoke enthusiastically about the young winger and suggested manager Sir Alex Ferguson to secure his signature, which they did.
Ronaldo made his memorable debut for Manchester United as a substitute against Bolton. His 30 minutes performances created hype with United fans and the English media with his dazzling dribbles.
Ronaldo’s first two seasons at United received mixed reviews; despite praised for his skills, Ronaldo was often being criticized for lack of consistency and poor decision making on the field. However his consistency level has been greatly since the 2006/2007 season, which saw him becoming one of the best player in EPL.
Cristiano Ronaldo made his senior debut for Portugal shortly after being signed by United in a match against Kazakhstan in August 2003. He has become one of the key players for Portugal since then.
The controversial moment of Ronaldo’s career was in World Cup 2006, where he was alleged to influence hernan barcos 188bet referee to send off his Manchester United team mate and England striker Wayne Rooney in their quarter finals clash.
Ronaldo was being used as the scapegoat for England’s defeat in the World Cup and the hatred towards him had prompted his intention to leave England and Manchester United. In the end United managed to keep him, and Ronaldo had a wonderful season in the Premiership against all odds.
Ronaldo won both the PFA Player and Young Player of the Year Award in 2007. He is the first player since 1977 to bag the double in the same season. Ronaldo was also voted Footballer of the Year by the Football Writers’ Association for the same year.
Ronaldo’s performance was crucial to help Manchester United securing their first Premiership title in 4 years in the 2006/2007 season.
Ronaldo was the top 3 finalists for both the FIFA World Player of the Year and European Player of the Year awards in 2007. The eventual winner however went to AC Milan’s Brazilian playmaker, Kaka instead.
Ronaldo continued his fine form in the 2007/2008 season, netted in 40 goals in all competition (31 in Premier League), and was again voted as the PFA Player of The Year and Football Writers’ Footballer of the Year. His performance contributed to United’s double for the season; winning the Premiership in succession as well as bringing home the UEFA Champions League trophy.
Ronaldo has become one of the most creative and influential players at Manchester United and has matured into a player with outstanding ability. Recent rumours have surrounded Ronaldo hinting that he may move to Real Madrid however these were quashed when the midfield maestro signed a new five year contract with Manchester United.
Ronaldo plays for Portugal and played in the 2006 World Cup. Famously in this competition he featured on the front pages of the English tabloid press when he winked in the immediate aftermath of fellow Manchester United player Wayne Rooney’s sending off in the quarter final. England were eliminated from the World Cup and Ronaldo came under heavy attack from the English population which has since vanished after Wayne Rooney publicly announced he bore Ronaldo no unwell will.