Few legends have the status of Cristiano Ronaldo dos Santos Aveiro, the 34-year-old superstar from Portugal. His talent was appreciated even before he came of age, as Manchester United was willing to pay £ 12 million for him when he was only 16.
He is tied with Messi in the number of Ballon d’Or awards (5), and though he doesn’t have the same number of Golden Shoes as Messi, he was the first to acquire four of them. With nearly 30 trophies in his name, it was not always clear that Ronaldo would reach these heights. The top scorer of Real Madrid had a racing heart condition that he needed to attend to via surgery at the age of 15. What has his life been like so far?
He was named after the actor that later became the President of the United States – Ronald Raegan. He was born on a small island in Portugal. Ronaldo was the youngest of four children and lived in a small home. His early life was full of struggle. His father, who was the equipment manager at Andorinha and introduced Ronaldo to football, was an alcoholic, which would ultimately lead to his death in 2005. This was despite the fact that Ronaldo pushed him into rehabilitation, a concern his father, José Dinis Aveiro, brushed off.
Ronaldo’s mother worked two jobs to support the large family. Maria Dolores dos Santos also had a precarious medical problem – she was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2007. Luckily for him and his siblings, she fully recovered. Ronaldo himself had a racing heart at 15, making him undergo an operation, but he quickly recovered and became the legend we know today.
It is interesting to point out that Ronaldo also has four children, two boys and two girls, though by several different mothers. The mother of his firstborn, Cristiano Jr., was not revealed to the public. This was Ronaldo’s attempt at respecting the woman’s wishes to keep her life private.
You cannot be famous without some of your misfortunes becoming public. In 2017, Ronaldo faced accusations of withholding taxes. If he doesn’t repeat the offense, he will avoid jail. There were two other scandals concerning allegations of rape. In the first instance, the women claiming to have been raped withdrew their accusations, and in the second a settlement was achieved.
Ronaldo was a footballer before he was a man. His first World Cup goal was against Iran in 2006. At the age of 22, he had taken the mantle of Portuguese captain. His goals and assists were things of dreams. He is considered one of the best goal-scorers of all time. He has the most goals in the UEFA Championship League – 126, and the FIFA World Cup – 7. During his senior career, he has scored over 700 goals.
One can’t help but draw a comparison between him and Lionel Messi. While their personalities are different, they have several similarities. They both won five Ballon d’Ors, they both had shown promise since the young age, both had health problems, and both players have achieved a legend-like status. Though the players don’t have a relationship outside of football, their rivalry makes them work hard and challenge each other to be the best they can be.