CONGRATULATIONS to Cristiano Ronaldo for winning The BrandLaureate Legendary Award on October 18, 2016. Creating history with every kick, the Captain of the Portugal National Team is regarded as one of the most gifted footballers of all time.
Ronaldo was the fastest player to score 200 goals in La Liga, which he accomplished in his 178th La Liga game. He is the only player in the history of football to score 50 or more goals in a season on six consecutive occasions.
During his time with Manchester United and Real Madrid, he won three Premier Leagues, one La Liga, one FA Cup, two Football League Cups, two Copas del Rey, one FA Community Shield, one Supercopas de España, two UEFA Champions Leagues, one UEFA Super and two FIFA Club World Cups.
In 2015, Ronaldo became the all-time top goalscorer in the UEFA Champions League. In Euro 2016, he became the most capped player of all time during the tournament, the first player to score at four consecutive European Championship finals, sharing the all-time record for most goals scored in the competition, and Silver Boot winner for being one of the second-highest goal-scorers of the tournament.
Born Cristiano Ronaldo dos Santos Aveiro on February 5, 1985, in Funchal, Madeira, Portugal, a small island off the western coast of the country, Ronaldo is the youngest of four children born to Maria Dolores dos Santos and Jose Dinis Aveiro. He was named after Ronald Reagan, one of his father’s favorite actors.
Ronaldo grew up in a largely working class neighborhood in a small tin-roofed home 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.
Intro to Soccer
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 years old, 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, adding, “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.
Success with Manchester United
Ronaldo did not disappoint the soccer world. 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 after signing a five-year, £31 million contract, Ronaldo again justified his high salary when he put together one of the club’s finest seasons in history, setting a franchise record for goals scored (42), and earning himself the FIFA World of the Year honor. In all, Ronaldo helped steer Manchester United to three premier league titles.
But Ronaldo’s time in England was marred by his mother’s 2007 struggle with breast cancer as well as his father’s death from alcohol-related illness. The latter was especially hard for Ronaldo as the two had been close, and the young athlete had often pushed for his father to enter rehab and address his drinking. His father, however, never accepted the offer.
Real Madrid & National Victory
As lauded as Ronaldo was on the field for Manchester United, his commitment to the club came under constant question. Speculation swirled that he wanted to play elsewhere. So in 2009, when Spanish soccer club Real Madrid agreed to pay United a record $131 million for the chance to sign him, nobody was all that surprised to see Ronaldo leave United.
“I know that they are going to demand a lot of me to be successful at the club and I know that I’m going to have much more pressure than at Manchester United because I was there for many years,” Ronaldo told reporters. “But it means a new challenge and is going to help me be the best footballer.”
In addition to his FIFA World Player of the year award, Ronaldo has also won the coveted Ballon d’OR, the Golden Boot, and been named the UEFA Club Forward of the Year, among other honors during the course of his career.
On July 10, 2016, Ronaldo added another emotional victory to his accolades, leading Portugal to the European Championship final against France as his national team’s captain. Although he was sidelined after suffering a knee injury 25 minutes into the match, Portugal went on to win the championship title 1-0, their first international trophy. Ronaldo’s teammates said that he motivated them as team captain from the sidelines. “He gave us a lot of confidence and he said, ‘Listen people, I’m sure we will win this Euro so stay together and fight for it,’” full-back Cedric Soares said after Portugal’s victory.
“This is one of the happiest moments in my career,” Ronaldo commented. ”I’ve always said I wanted to win a trophy with the national team and make history. And I did it. Thank God, things went well for us.”
Indeed, Ronaldo is deserving to win the 24k gold-plated BrandLaureate Legendary Award, as a tribute to his outstanding achievements in the evergreen field of football, and regarded by fans as the best football player in the world.