Things you didn’t know about Ronaldo, World’s Best Footballer
By Frederick Mordi
There are some things quite unique about Cristiano Ronaldo, the Portuguese international and Real Madrid striker, who won the Ballon d’Or World Footballer of the Year Award for the second consecutive year, yesterday, in Zurich, Switzerland, which are worth noting.
Ronaldo was born on February 5, 1985, and is the youngest child of his parents, Maria Dolores dos Santos Aveiro, a cook, and José Dinis Aveiro, a gardener. They named him ‘Ronaldo’ after former U.S. President Ronald Reagan—his father’s favourite actor.
His mother claimed in her autobiography that she tried to abort him while she was pregnant, but the doctor did not support her decision, according to Daily Mail Newspaper. Read the full story here:
Ronaldo was expelled from school after he threw a chair at his teacher for ‘disrespecting’ him. He was diagnosed with a heart condition that might have forced him to quit playing football, at the age of 15. He resumed training few days after a successful operation. Kanu Nwankwo, the Nigerian ex-international had a similar experience.
He started his career as a youth player for Andorinha, before he moved to a bigger club, Sporting CP, where his heart disease was first noticed. Since then, he has been in the radar of the biggest clubs in the world. He has played in the English Premier League with Manchester United, under Sir Alex Ferguson, and his current club, Real Madrid of Spain.
In 2004, he won his first trophy, the FA Cup. In 2008, he won for the first time, the FIFA World Player of the Year, and was the inaugural winner of the FIFA Puskás Award for Goal of the Year in 2009. In November 2014, Ronaldo became the all-time top scorer in the UEFA European Championship with 23 goals. The following month, he became the fastest player to score 200 goals in the Spanish La Liga.
Ronaldo made history in 2009, when he became the world’s most expensive player following his move from Manchester United to Real Madrid, in a transfer worth £80million (€94million/$132million). He was ranked top in Forbes’ list of the world’s highest paid players, with earnings of $73million in combined income from salaries, bonuses and off-field earnings for the previous 12 months, as at May 2014.
He made his international debut for Portugal in 2003, at the age of 18, and has been capped over 100 times. He is the first Portuguese player to reach 50 international goals, making him the country’s top goalscorer of all time. He currently captains Portugal.
In 2008, he won his first Ballon d’Or and FIFA World Player of the Year awards. He won again in 2013 and 2014. He is also the first Portuguese footballer to win three Ballons d’Or. He had earlier won the 2013–14 UEFA Best Player in Europe Award.
With Manchester United and Real Madrid, the two clubs where he has spent most of his career, Ronaldo has 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 Cup and two FIFA Club World Cups.
Though he single-handedly took Portugal to the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil with his remarkable goals, particularly against Sweden at the qualifying stage, he could not replicate this success at the Mundial due to thigh injuries. Despite warning by his doctor against playing at the World Cup, Ronaldo featured for his country and became the first Portuguese footballer to play and score in three World Cup tournaments.
Ronaldo’s ability to play on either wing as well through the center of the pitch, makes him a flexible attacker. He is reputed for his physical fitness, stamina, and pace, making him one of the fastest players in the world today. He scored 52 goals in 43 games last year.
Rivalry with Messi
Ronaldo is generally regarded as one of the two current best players in the world alongside key rival, Lionel Messi, the Argentine international and Barcelona striker. Both players hold spectacular records in football history. This rivalry has brought out the best in them as they unconsciously strive to outdo each other. Ronaldo beat Messi, who has won the award four times in a row, and German and Bayern Munich goalkeeper Manuel Neuer, to the award, for year 2014.
In his acceptance speech, Ronaldo said: “I would like to thank all of those who voted for me, my president, my coach and Real Madrid. It has been an unforgettable year. To win this trophy at the end of it is something incredibly unique.”
Other winners at the event include James Rodriguez of Colombia, who won the FIFA Goal of the Year Award, while Germany’s World Cup winner Joachim Low won men’s coach of the year. Rodriguez won the trophy for his beautiful goal against Uruguay.
What coaches say about Ronaldo
“I have nothing but praise for the boy. He is easily the best player in the world. His contribution as a goal threat is unbelievable. His stats are incredible. Strikes at goal, attempts on goal, raids into the penalty box, headers. It is all there. Absolutely astounding”— Alex Ferguson, after Ronaldo’s transfer to Real Madrid
“Ronaldo is a unique player for all of his talent and his professionalism. He is a player who is extraordinarily consistent”—Real Madrid manager Carlo Ancelotti
Ronaldo’s win comes barely a week after Ivorian international and Manchester City’s Yaya Toure emerged Confederation of Africa Football (CAF) African Footballer of the Year.