Professional soccer player. Born Cristiano Ronaldo dos Santos Aveiro on February 5, 1985 in Madeira, Portugal, a small island off the western coast of the country. Ronaldo, The youngest of Maria Dolores dos Santos and Jose Dinis Aveiro's four children, was named after Ronald Reagan, a favourite actor of his father's.
Ronaldo grew up in a largely working class neighbourhood, his home a small tin roofed shack that overlooked the ocean. His early life was shaped by hardship; his father, a gardener, often drank too much, and eventually died from kidney problems in 2005. To help keep the children fed, and maintain some financial stability, Ronaldo's mother worked as a cook and cleaning person.
It was through his dad's work as an equipment manager at a boy's club that Ronaldo was first introduced to the game of soccer. By the time he was 10, he was already recognized as a phenomenon—a kid who ate, slept, and drank the game. "All he wanted to do as a boy was play football," his godfather, Fernao Sousa, recalled for British reporters. "He loved the game so much he'd miss meals or escape out of his bedroom window with a ball when he was supposed to be doing his homework."
By his early teens, Ronaldo's talent and legend had grown considerably. After a stint with Nacional da liha da Madeira, he signed with Sporting Portugal in 2001. That same year, at the tender age of 16, Ronaldo turned heads with a mesmerizing performance against Manchester United, wowing even his opponents with his footwork and deft skill. He made such an impression that a number of United players asked their manager to try and sign the young player. It wasn't long before the club paid Ronaldo's team more than £12 million for his services—a record fee for a player of his age.
Ronaldo, however, did not disappoint. He showed his promise early on in the 2004 FA Cup final; scoring the team's first three goals and helping them capture the championship. In 2008, a year...