Cristiano Ronaldo Biography: The Life and Career of A Football Legend

Cristiano Ronaldo dos Santos Aveiro was born on February 5th, 1985 in Funchal, Madeira, Portugal. He was the youngest of four children born to Maria Dolores dos Santos Aveiro and José Dinis Aveiro. His father worked as a municipal gardener and his mother was a cook.

Ronaldo grew up in poverty sharing a small tin roof house with his family. As a young boy, he was introverted and active, often exercising outside. From a young age, he loved playing football (soccer). His early football career began when he started playing for an amateur team called Andorinha at age 8.

What was Ronaldo’s childhood like?

Ronaldo had a difficult childhood growing up in poverty. He shared a small house with his large family and began playing football at a very young age with an amateur team called Andorinha. Football became his passion and escape.

Where did Ronaldo grow up?

Ronaldo grew up in Funchal, Madeira, Portugal with his family. It is an island off the coast of Portugal.

At age 10, he got the nickname “Ronaldo” after his father’s favorite actor, Ronald Reagan due to his love for Hollywood films. By age 12, Ronaldo believed he had the ability to become a professional footballer.

When did Ronaldo start playing football?

Ronaldo started playing organized youth football with Andorinha at age 8. He developed his skills on the streets of Funchal before joining the youth team.

Early Club Career

In 1995, when Ronaldo was 10 years old, he went on a 3-day trial with Sporting CP, one of the biggest clubs in Portugal. They signed him for a fee of £1,500. He moved from Madeira to Lisbon to play in their youth system and concentrate on football.

2002-2003Sporting CP255
2003-2009Manchester United19684
2009-2018Real Madrid292311

Ronaldo excelled in Sporting’s youth teams and caught the attention of bigger clubs in England. In 2003, Manchester United signed an 18-year old Ronaldo after a friendly against Sporting.

What big clubs has Ronaldo played for?

The major clubs Ronaldo has played for in his career include:

  • Sporting CP (Youth Career)
  • Manchester United
  • Real Madrid
  • Juventus

He made his senior debut in 2002 for Sporting CP before transferring to Manchester United in 2003 at age 18.

Breakthrough at Manchester United

Ronaldo’s Manchester United career began modestly, playing on the wing but soon transitioned into a goal scoring threat. In his first season, he helped United capture the FA Cup.

In the 2006-2007 season, Ronaldo scored 23 goals and helped United win the Premier League title. A year later, he scored 42 goals and won the Champions League helping earn himself his first Ballon d’Or award as the best player in Europe at just 23 years old.

Why did Ronaldo win the Ballon d’Or in 2008?

Ronaldo won the prestigious Ballon d’Or award in 2008 after a spectacular season with Manchester United where he scored 42 goals and led them to the Champions League title – cementing his status as the best player in Europe at just 23 years old.

His trophy count increased year-over-year and he cemented his legacy as a United legend before seeking a new challenge in Spain.

La Liga Domination at Real Madrid

In 2009, Ronaldo made history becoming the most expensive footballer ever after transferring to Real Madrid from Manchester United for £80 million.

2009-20103533Copa del Rey
2010-20115453Copa del Rey
2011-20125560La Liga
2013-20144751Champions League & Copa del Rey
2015-20163635Champions League
2016-20174642La Liga & Champions League
2017-20184444UEFA Super Cup & Club World Cup

During his 9 seasons at Real Madrid, Ronaldo won 15 trophies, including two La Liga titles and four UEFA Champions Leagues. He scored 450 goals in 438 games and cemented his legacy as Real Madrid’s all-time leading goal scorer.

How many trophies did Ronaldo win at Real Madrid?

While at Real Madrid for nine seasons, Ronaldo won an astonishing 15 trophies including:

  • 2 La Liga titles
  • 2 Copa del Rey cups
  • 4 UEFA Champions League titles
  • 3 UEFA Super Cups
  • 2 Club World Cups

He became the undisputed leader of Los Blancos through his sheer domination.

Continuing Success at Juventus FC

In 2018, Ronaldo left Spain to join Italian side Juventus for 100 million Euros beginning another phase of his illustrious career. In his first season with The Old Lady, Ronaldo won Serie A and was named the league’s Most Valuable Player.

In his second season, Ronaldo scored 37 goals but only captured the Coppa Italia and Supercoppa Italiana cups. During the 2020-2021 COVID impacted season, Ronaldo was top goal scorer helping Juventus lift the Coppa Italia and Supercoppa Italiana once again.

2018-20194328Serie A & Supercoppa Italiana
2019-20204637Coppa Italia & Supercoppa Italiana
2020-20214436Coppa Italia & Supercoppa Italiana

He continues to dominate in Italy’s top flight being the leading goal scorer and best player while chasing more silverware.

Is Ronaldo still successful at Juventus?

Yes, Ronaldo remains successful at Juventus helping them win 3 Coppa Italia cups, and 2 Supercoppa Italiana trophies while claiming 2 Serie A Capocannoniere (top goal scorer) awards in his four seasons so far. At 37 years old, he continues to perform at an extremely high level.

Historic International and Individual Achievements

In addition to his storied club success, Ronaldo captained Portugal to major hardware in 2016 leading them to their first ever European Championship trophy while claiming the Golden Boot himself for most goals scored.

On the individual front, Ronaldo’s trophy case continues to swell with numerous records across several major categories:


  • Most Champions League goals (140)
  • Most International goals (115)
  • Most Professional hat-tricks (60)


  • First player to win 100 UEFA Champions League matches
  • Most UEFA & FIFA Player of the Year awards
  • Most consecutive FIFPro World XI selections


  • Fastest to score 50 International goals (93 matches)
  • Only player to score 10+ UEFA Champions League goals for three clubs
  • Only player to ever score in all six group stage matches in a UCL season

At 37 years old, he continues to play at the highest level cementing himself as one of the greatest footballers ever having transcended the game itself.

What competitions and records does Ronaldo lead?

Ronaldo is the all-time leader in both Champions League and International goals while scoring the most professional hat-tricks ever. He’s been named UEFA and FIFA Player of the Year the most times and is the only player to ever score 10+ Champions League goals for three different clubs along with six group stage goals in a single tournament.


Cristiano Ronaldo’s life has been nothing short of remarkable rising from poverty to become a legendary footballer whose achievements may never be matched.

The only player to win five Ballon d’Or trophies and six European Golden Boots, he has amassed 34 trophies across four clubs in three different leagues and captained his country to European glory while cementing himself as the most prolific goal scorer ever.

On and off the pitch, Ronaldo’s dedication to excellence drives him more than any other player in history. At 37 years old, he continues to play at an elite level shattering preconceived notions about footballers declining after turning 30.