Right now, there is no better player on the planet than Cristiano Ronaldo. The Real Madrid and Portugal legend is instantly recognised around the world and one of the most famous athletes of all time. The 29-year-old has had an enormously successful career so far, picking up three Premier League titles, two Champions League titles, a La Liga title, two Copa del Rey Cups, two Ballon d’Or’s and plenty more club and individual accolades. Not only is he one of the more decorated and successful players of his generation, he is also one of the most entertaining players of all time too. He possesses blistering speed, stunning footwork, incredible strength and a fierce shot which ensures every goalkeeper has slightly shaky legs each time he steps up to take one of his trademark free kicks. He is also an intelligent and highly skilled player, allowing him to play in multiple positions, in different systems and alongside other super star players.
Ronaldo is adored and admired by people around the entire world, making him a global superstar and as famous as Hollywood actors and pop sensations. This star status, along with him being the best paid footballer in the world, means that Ronaldo leads a glamorous lifestyle. You will not see him making the back pages for the wrong reasons though, and generally he keeps his personal life to himself as much as he can. This is refreshing to see in the modern era, where many players that are seen as global celebrities are constantly creating controversy and scandals both on and off the pitch.
He and Barcelona’s Lionel Messi have been vying for the title of the best player on the planet, and possibly all time, for a number of years now. Messi was, arguably, edging this for a few years, but in the last year or so it seems the tables have turned. Ronaldo has been scoring for fun against the best teams in Spain and around Europe, and he played a key role in helping Real Madrid to their 10th Champions League title last season.
Here are 15 interesting facts about the greatest player on the planet, Cristiano Ronaldo.
15 He was expelled from school at the age of 14
Ronaldo threw a chair at one of his teachers when he was 14, leading to him being expelled from the school. He felt that the teacher disrespected him, and after this his mother decided that he should focus entirely on football. Normally an expulsion from school would be a serious cause for concern, but Ronaldo was showing promise and by focusing his attention on football it helped him to develop into the enormously successful person that he is today.
14 A friendly against Manchester United set him on his path
Sporting Lisbon played Manchester United in a friendly match before the 2002-03 season, and Ronaldo blew away Sir Alex Ferguson and the United players with his dazzling play. Roy Keane, John O’Shea and Gary Neville asked Ferguson to buy Ronaldo after the game, but Ferguson was way ahead of them and had made his mind up by halftime. It is not usual for a team of United’s stature to be convinced after one friendly match, but the talent he demonstrated and the problems he caused the United defence that night was all they needed to see. They signed him for £12 million in 2003 (aged just 18), and the rest is history.
13 He is named after former U.S President Ronald Reagan
His full name is Cristiano Ronaldo dos Santos Aveiro, but is known to everyone else as just Cristiano Ronaldo. His father was a big fan of Ronald Reagan’s acting work, which is where the now world famous name “Ronaldo” came from. A few nicknames he has been given over his career include CR7, CR9 and Ronnie the Rocket.
12 He became a father in 2010
In July of 2010, Ronaldo announced to the world that his son had been born, but he decided not to reveal who the mother was to the press and he also has full custody of the child. This sparked rumours that he had paid a surrogate to have his son, Cristiano Jr, but these have not been confirmed. Now 4 years old, Cristiano Jr is often seen at Real Madrid games, being looked after by Ronaldo’s girlfriend, model Irina Shayk.
11 He has no tattoos
You will find that a large percentage of professional athletes, and celebrities, have at least one tattoo. These often represent the challenges that they have gone through to reach their level of success, but Ronaldo is one of the few athletes that has no ink. This is particularly surprising seeing as he has gone through some tough times and is the greatest footballer on the planet, and the reason for this is because he regularly donates blood. In some countries, you have to wait up to a year after getting a tattoo to give blood, so Ronaldo remains ink free. He also has become a bone marrow donor.
10 He has his own museum in his honour
In 2013, Ronaldo opened his own museum in his hometown of Madeira. The museum contains all of his awards and trophies (over 150), with extra room available for future trophies, which he expects to win. The first piece on display is his first ever trophy which he won with his boyhood team, Andorinha, when he was just 8 years old. The museum is to share all of his success over the years with his fans, and I’m sure it does no harm for his ego either.
9 His free kick speed is around 130 kmph
It has become a famous image in modern football; Ronaldo standing over the ball with a free kick from around 30 yards out. You can understand why those in the wall are nervously trying to cover any sensitive areas and why the keeper has to be on full alert, as his free kick speed is around 130 kmph, or 3.1 metres per second. This is over four times faster than Apollo 11’s launch speed, so if he gets it on target then there is a very good chance that it will smash into the back of the net and leave the keeper wondering what happened. He is able to reach these speeds thanks to his fantastic lower body strength, but also a brilliant technique which many players try to emulate.
8 He was diagnosed with a racing heart at 15
Ronaldo is the one of the greatest athletes in the world and in terrific shape. This has not always been the case however, as at the age of 15 he was diagnosed with a racing heart. This caused him to have an irregular heart rate, which could have stopped him from playing and becoming the sensation that he is today. The problem was corrected through heart surgery which used a type of laser, and Ronaldo was back in training just a few days later.
7 He has his own fashion boutique
Ronaldo opened his very own fashion boutique in 2006 in his hometown, with a second opening in Lisbon in 2008. The brand name, “CR7” represents his initials and shirt number, and is a nickname he has developed over the years. The boutique sells clothes and accessories for both men and women, but the items available are not for everyone, with jeans with leather pockets, diamond-studded belts and patent buckled loafers being just a few of the flashy items available to those that want to dress like Ronaldo.
6 His father passed away when he was 20
Cristiano’s father, Jose Dinis Aveiro, unfortunately passed away at the age of 52 due to alcoholism. This had a huge impact on Ronaldo, who was 20 at the time and was just beginning to become a star. As a result, Ronaldo does not drink alcohol. In 2010 he accepted a libel payout from the Daily Telegraph, who reported that he was drinking champagne heavily in a nightclub whilst injured.
5 He has less body fat than most supermodels
A vigorous workout regime and strict diet has kept Ronaldo in peak physical condition, leaving him with less body fat than most supermodels. A body fat ratio of 10% enables Ronaldo to run, jump and perform at a higher level than most on the pitch, and it will also ensure that he will be able to play at a high level for many years to come. His extraordinary fitness levels and low body fat may be why he is sometimes quick to remove his shirt after scoring goals or at the end of matches, putting everyone watching at home to shame.
4 He paid for a brain operation and treatments for a 10-month old boy
As this list demonstrates, Ronaldo is a very generous, caring and giving person. His arrogance sometimes gives him a bad name, but he does a lot of good and will often use his power and wealth to help those less fortunate. The parents of a 10-month-old boy suffering from a brain condition wrote to the star, hoping that he would donate a shirt and boots to auction so they could raise the money for the £50,000 operation. Ronaldo did them one better and paid for the surgery and further treatments himself. This may not be a huge amount of money for the highest paid footballer, but it is a heart warming gesture and just one example of his generosity.
3 He can jump higher than the average NBA player
Ronaldo’s aerial ability is a key facet to his game, as his ability to soar above the tallest defenders and his upper body strength means that any cross into the box will cause problems for defenders. With a starting run up, the Portuguese star can reach 78 cm off the ground, an impressive 7 cm higher than the average NBA player. A high vertical leap is hugely important in basketball, with most players possessing a huge leap to grab rebounds, contest shots and attack the basket. If Ronaldo was about six inches taller, he may have had another sport that he could dominate.
2 He has scored a goal in every minute of a game over his career
When Ronaldo found the back of the net against rivals Atletico Madrid in the 7th minute earlier this year, it gave him an astonishing statistic that not even Lionel Messi can match. With that goal, Ronaldo has now scored in every minute of a 90 minute game. This fantastic stat proves how lethal Ronaldo is and how he is a threat at all times in a game. He has also scored over 20 goals in the 90th minute, making him a clutch, prolific and deadly scorer and one of the all time greats.
1 He had some help from a friend
An incredible story of friendship is how Ronaldo first got his lucky break with Sporting Lisbon when they visited a youth club he and his close friend, Albert Fantrau, played for. Before a game, Sporting Lisbon stated that whoever scored the most goals would be accepted into their academy. Ronaldo’s team would win the game 3-0, with Cristiano scoring the first before Albert added the second. For the third goal, Albert went one on one with the goalkeeper, took the ball around him and then passed the ball to Ronaldo for the third, when he could have tapped the ball into the empty net himself. When asked why, his friend replied “because you’re better than me”. This was recently followed up by a journalist who visited Albert, who is unemployed yet lives in beautiful house and lives a luxurious lifestyle with his family. It was all paid for by Ronaldo, who never forgot his friend that passed up the opportunity of a lifetime to help a very young Cristiano.