Cristiano Ronaldo dos Santos Aveiro, OIH (born 5th February 1985 in Funchal, Madeira), better known as Cristiano Ronaldo, is a professional Portuguese footballer. He plays for the English Club Manchester United F.C. and Portugal.
He was born in Madeira, Portugal, to his mother Maria Dolores dos Santos Aveiro and his father José Dinis Aveiro. He grew up with an elder brother Hugo, and two elder sisters, Elma and Katia. Katia works as a singer by the stage name "Ronalda" in Portugal. His second name ("Ronaldo") is relatively rare in Portugal. His parents named him after former U.S. President Ronald Reagan.
He began kicking a football when he was three, and when he started primary school at age six, his passion for the sport was obvious. He first played for an amateur team, Andorinha, where his father was the kit man, when he was just eight years old. By 1995, at just ten years of age, Cristiano Ronaldo's reputation was growing in Portugal. Madeira's top two teams, CS Marítimo and CD Nacional were both interested in signing him. Marítimo, the bigger team, missed a crucial meeting with Rui Santos manager of Andorinha, and as a result Ronaldo signed for Nacional. After a title-winning campaign at Nacional, Ronaldo went on a three day trial with Sporting who subsequently signed him for an undisclosed sum.
Ronaldo joined Sporting's other youth players who trained at the Alcochete, the club's "football factory," where he received first-class instruction. He made his debut for Sporting against Moreirense and scored two goals. He also featured for Portugal in the UEFA Under 17 Championships. His performances at the UEFA Under 17 championship drew him to the attention of the wider football world. He was first spotted by former Liverpool F.C. manager Gérard Houllier at the age of 16. However, Liverpool later declined him because he was too young and needed some time to develop into a top footballer. However, he came to the attention of Sir Alex Ferguson in the summer of 2003, when Sporting beat Manchester United 3–1 in the inauguration of the Alvalade XXI stadium in Lisbon. Ronaldo demonstrated his ability to play on both wings. After the match, United's players spoke enthusiastically of the young talent that they had just played against, saying they would rather have him in their team than play against him in the future. Ferguson decided that he wanted the youngster for his team, who were in the market for a right-sided midfielder with the departure of David Beckham to Real Madrid; Ronaldo was signed for a fee of £12.24 million.
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 would last until 2010. Ronaldo said of the deal, "United have stood by me and been there for me and I want to repay that." By December 2006, Ronaldo had become one of United's most influential players, scoring six goals in 3 league games to bring his overall tally up to 12 goals. He came on at half-time as a substitute against Wigan Athletic and immediately stamped his influence on the match with 2 goals in the space of a few minutes.
In December, he was awarded the Barclays Player of the Month Award for the second successive month, becoming the third ever player in the Premiership to do so (after Arsenal's Dennis Bergkamp in 1997 and Robbie Fowler in 1996). As the end of each season approached, particularly in 2006 and 2007, it became traditional for rumours to start floating that Ronaldo was unsettled at Manchester United and wanted to play for Real Madrid - the rumours frequently originating from the board of Real Madrid who were reported in April 2007 to be willing to pay an unprecedented €80 million (£54 million) for Ronaldo. At the beginning of March 2007, however, Ronaldo, as well as Manchester United, confirmed that they would be negotiating an extension to his current contract. On 13 April 2007, Ronaldo signed a five-year, £120,000-a-week deal with United, making him the highest-paid player in United's history. He said, "I am very happy at the club and I want to win trophies and hopefully we will do that this season."
During the 2006-07 season, Ronaldo won the PFA Players' Player of the Year and PFA Young Player of the Year awards. He received the two awards during a ceremony on the 22nd of April, 2007. In addition to winning the two awards (an accomplishment that has only been matched once - in 1977 by Andy Gray), Ronaldo was also named a member of the PFA Premiership Team of the Year, alongside seven of his fellow Manchester United teammates. On 24 April 2007, Ronaldo completed the treble by winning the PFA Fans' Player of the Year, an award which is given by winning the most votes from fans all over the United Kingdom. In addition, he was awarded the 2007 Portuguese Footballer of the Year, and at the beginning of May 2007 Ronaldo was also awarded the Football Writers' Association Award. He also received two awards from the club itself, the Player of the Year award, and the Fans' Player of the Year award. Ronaldo scored his 50th goal for Manchester United in the game against arch-rivals Manchester City which turned out to be the decisive goal which helped Manchester United claim the Premiership for the first time in 4 years. Ronaldo made his international debut in August 2003, against Kazakhstan. He scored Portugal's only goal in their 2–1 loss to Greece in the opening match of Euro 2004 and the first goal of the semi final against the Netherlands, which Portugal won 2–1. The final saw a rematch of the opening game of the tournament, and again, Greece emerged victorious.
Ronaldo represented Portugal at the 2004 Summer Olympics, and was the second highest scorer in FIFA World Cup qualification in the European zone with 7 goals. As of 17 June 2005, he has scored 11 goals in 25 appearances for his country.
Ronaldo was named the national team captain for the first time in a friendly match against Brazil on February 6, 2007, a day after his 22nd birthday. On 8 July 2006, after the sending off of United team-mate Wayne Rooney in the Quarter Final of the 2006 World Cup between England and Portugal, and after much speculation in the English media that he had influenced Rooney's red card, Ronaldo told reporters that he thought he "should get out of Manchester as the circumstances are not right to keep playing there".
"I have told my agent I am prepared to leave. I want to do it in the best manner possible. I want to play for Real Madrid and dream of doing so," Ronaldo allegedly told the Spanish sports daily Marca. On 9 July, he also told SIC, a Portuguese television channel, he cannot understand all verbal violence and pejorative speculation about him. Ronaldo declared he did not behave wrongly when Portugal defeated England and so cannot be blamed for defending his home country colours. He added that he cannot live and work in a place where people do not like him, so he would be glad to move out of England. On 12 July, United released a statement saying "The club can confirm there is no possibility of Cristiano being sold. Cristiano recently signed a new contract until 2010 and the club fully expects him to honour that contract. The club will not listen to any offers for Cristiano," and on July 17, Sir Alex Ferguson said, "Cristiano will be coming back," while Chelsea manager José Mourinho said, "If he stays in England, I think he can turn things around." In addition, Sir Alex Ferguson sent assistant boss Carlos Queiroz to Portugal, hoping to change the young player's mind, and Rooney pleaded with Ronaldo not to leave the team, and to let their differences rest. Ultimately, Ronaldo stayed at Manchester United for the 2006-07 season, and went on to make a clean sweep of domestic personal awards, including the PFA Fans' Player of the Year. The Barclays Player of the Season was also awarded to Cristiano Ronaldo, granting him the sextuple of PFA Players' Player, Young Player, Fans' Player of the Year, Barclays Premiership Player of the Season, Football Writers' Association Player of the Year and a place in the Team of the Year for the 2006-07 season.
Ronaldo has done charity work, as well as flying out Martunis, an 11-year-old Indonesian tsunami survivor and his father to attend one of their World Cup qualifiers in June 2005; covering all their expenses. Subsequently all the players contributed money to buy them a house in Indonesia. After the two World Cup qualifiers, Ronaldo flew to Indonesia to visit the areas affected by the tsunami and to raise funds. He met the Vice President of the Indonesian Republic Jusuf Kalla and the President of East Timor Xanana Gusmäo, and raised £66,000 (about $130,000 USD) by auctioning off his personal sports gear in Jakarta, Indonesia.